Now this is a story Watertown should not ever hear enough about.
Reporter Steve Sharp’s story last week outlined plans for the Main Street Café to double in size soon.
Although admittedly hamstringed by the supply-chain challenges we are all facing, owner Adil Limani is forging ahead with plans to create more room for this downtown diner right in the center of our community.
And by all accounts, he is doing it the right way, with a grant from the Main Street Program for facade improvement. This comes on the heels of other renovations that added windows and more light to the cafe only a couple years ago. This new edition will greatly expand seating and make this restaurant a vital cog in downtown rejuvenation.
This organic growth is just the kind Watertown needs.
You need only look a little to the northeast to see how restaurateur Tom Masters transformed the better part of a sleepy Hartford block downtown into a magnet for traffic, the Mineshaft, some 40 years ago. It became the go-to place in that community, which is smaller than Watertown.
And while Limani’s cuisine is far different than the Mineshaft’s, it does not diminish the popularity of his eatery. What he has to offer is clicking and people are drawn to this establishment.
As we know, downtowns are fragile places. You can have restaurants with long history’s like Zweig’s that keep packing them in just down the street, and other places that seem to come in one year and out the next. And that is all the more reason to celebrate a place that is growing so quickly.
It’s a sign of good things to come.
We are all buoyed by what the Town Square and remodeled library will do for downtown, but we have to be honest that, as important as these public improvements are, it is only when the private sector steps up to make investments that you start to turn the corner.
When people spend their time and money at a place like the Main Street Cafe, it leads to more investment and expansion at that restaurant, and gets others who are looking at downtown to start thinking there is hope and that they, too, can share in the success that is going around. Enthusiasm and optimism are contagious.
It is this organic growth that can lead to more growth, and that is why we should all applaud Main Street Cafe’s growth. It does not happen without a good business plan, taking care of customers and a community that supports a good thing.
So let’s start with singing praises for Main Street Cafe, a great place to eat, but let’s also be thankful for Limani for putting that place right downtown and fostering its growth, because we can all hope that it is the building block for even more expansion and prosperity downtown.
Watertown has a historic and attractive downtown. And once we get the ball rolling, we can only imagine what a drawing card this city could be. It will just take a few more Main Street Cafes to put this city on the map for Wisconsin and the upper Midwest. We’re not there yet, but that light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter by the day.