While downtown is notorious for being less than robust on most evenings, two downtown eateries have extended its hours into dinnertime, a move officials say is a good sign for the area’s continuing redevelopment.
Buckling to customer demand, according to a Downtown Development District release, Vietnamese-and-Cajun fusion restaurant Cafe Mimi is offering an extended dinner service on Friday and Saturday evenings, while Matherne’s Market has extended the hours daily for its deli, salads and sushi.
“As you see more and more people living downtown, the opportunity presents itself for hours to be extended,” DDD Executive Director Davis Rhorer says, adding that graduations, festivals and other summer activities create a lot of summertime buzz in downtown.
Rhorer says by continuing to host events at the Shaw Center and River Center, among other venues, and driving people to stay at the downtown hotels, he expects the district to continue changing and for more attractions to open or extend its hours.
Tony Matherne, owner of Matherne’s Market, says business at the downtown grocer has been steady and “on par” with revenues earned at his other market locations. He wanted to expand into offering hot plates at dinnertime for a while, but the downtown grocer previously lacked the afternoon staff to offer dinner. He declined to elaborate why the shift was hard to get covered.
“We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing and run what we have as efficiently as we can,” Matherne says. “But we’re always interested in new opportunities.”