Paula Kirk of Paula’s Café on Fourth Street, open only for lunch, said she’s getting a smaller piece of those workers’ business. She sees each new lunch-place opening pulling customers away.
“When Potbelly on the Square opened, all the people in the Fifth Third building could go there instead of here,” she said. “It’s hard, and especially because some of the new places are chains. They have more leverage.”She has an excellent point. Though we have had some new non-chain restaurants open, like Via Vite and Nada, but most of the other newer restaurants are chains: Potbelly, McCormick and Schmick's, Boi Na, among others. They do have more buying power and marketing power than a smaller, locally-owned restaurant. So what can we do, as a city, to encourage more independent restaurants to come downtown? What could open downtown that would give people more things to do? A movie theater might be nice, or more shopping. We have a thriving theater scene downtown already. What about more small venues for music or comedy?
What do you think?