dogbo wrote:I went running downtown today and made a couple observations:
1) Hessan Haus has posted on their window that they serve food until 1:45 a.m. Hopefully talk of polluting Court Ave the likes of a Taco Johns or something of that ilk can stop regarding late night dining options.
This is what I've said all along. A restaurant cannot thrive merely on the receipts of late-night diners (unless, perhaps, it's a Panchero's in Iowa City). I think that yes, now that more young people are living downtown, there is a higher demand around dinner time, but lunch is still a risk. Quizno's downtown has been for sale for quite some time, and their gross receipts aren't very high during the day hours.I contend that if it was such a "no-brainer", it would have happened by now.
No offense to many here, but to me it is inexcusable if some of you have identified this gold mine and are not taking steps to benefit by it yourself. Seriously, if this is a no lose situation, and you've indentified and believe it to be so, then take this on yourself. Get a partner or partners, raise the capital, get a small business loan, make a business plan, and get your "can't lose" business up and running. How many opportunities are you going to have in your lifetime to invest in something that is guaranteed to be a big money maker?
4th&Court wrote:I appreciate your confidence in market forces, but reality shows that it isn't exclusively business geniuses sitting on the capital and resources for this stuff. Many, many business owners aren't in business because they have great instincts and are always looking for opportunity, but rather because their father-in-law left the business to them or they bought it thinking it was a good investment or some other "I just sorta landed here" scenario. Downtown has seen many examples over the last few years of exactly how out of touch these entrepreneurs can be, and how very often they don't know their market at all. The grocery stores are excellent examples of this. A grocery store could succeed here, but not with the business model they used. They ignored the actual wants and needs of downtown residents and instead just tried what felt good.
I don't have the resources to open a fast food chain downtown, but if I did, I'd do so immediately. The person who does is going to have an overnight success, guaranteed.
Philby wrote:I agree that some people are not business smart even though they own a business....but certianly not ALL of them. I certainly think a late night eatery serving burritos/pizza slices/subs could do well downtown....on Friday and Saturday nights, but what about the rest of the week?? Many people who do have the resources to open up fast-food chains also have the resources to do foot-traffic studies and other things to help them determine if they want to open a business (of whatever type) and so far no-one has determined that their business model is a money maker. With the amount of traffic that walks through the skywalk you would think that the Younkers, and other stores would be able to make it in the Hub...and although its been a lot less empty lately, its still obvious that downtown workers don't spend a lot of money during the day in the skywalks on things other than food...
And I agree that a grocery store could succeed downtown....but you can't provide a grocery store downtown with the wants of the downtown residents....because they all want a huge Hy-Vee downtown...and that's not gonna happen.
Here was the dilemma the group known as Full Court Press was having with two of its establishments. It wanted to open Hessen Haus, the German American pub/restaurant at 101 Fourth St. in Des Moines, for lunch. It also heard the clamor from its Buzzard Billy's patrons who wanted to know where they could find that restaurant's Cajun menu items, now that flooding from the Court Avenue sewer water backup effectively closed down that operation.
So, why not open Hessen Haus for lunch, serve its German American menu items of hamburgers, bratwurst, sandwiches and salads AND the dozen or so most popular Cajun items from Buzzard Billy's lunch menu? That's exactly what happened as of this week.
Dan Massoth, one of the owners, said he wants people to know nothing has been taken from Hessen Haus's menu. The Cajun foods have been added to the lunch menu. For dinner, patrons can order three appetizers from Buzzard Billy's: Gator Fingers, made with alligator; Armadillo Eggs, not made with armadillos; and cheese sticks made with hand-breaded fresh cheese. Other Buzzard Billy entrees may be added later.
Massoth said this was an opportunity to bridge the gap between Billy's being closed and such time as it may reopen, which could take months.
Lunch is served from 11 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays until 4 p.m. On Sundays, lunch begins at noon. Dinner is served from 4 to 10 p.m. See hessenhaus.com
dogbo wrote:I was down on Court over the lunch hour today and it appears that Baldwin is starting some major work on the bars he purchased from Larry Smithson.
The northern 2/3rd's of the building is getting a new faux brick facade. Long overdue. This should blend in better with the nearby historic buildings. I'm not sure if this will continue as the latin music "La Rocka" (or whatever it is/was) or if he's putting in something new here. Regardless, it will look much better.
The southern 1/3 of the building has what looks to be a temporary sign designating it as "The Party Cove". Hopefully he has some plans to improve that next.
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