Saturday, March 7, 2009

Downtown Restaurants

Downtown here defined as the core of the central business district, between, say, the river and the railroad, St Clair and Wilkinson. By my count around 26 eating places in this core area, not counting the fast food places inside the RTA bus hub.

And they are mostly open only for lunch.

This charts lists the eating establishments from north to south, and their weekday hours, starting at 6AM and ending at 12 midnight. Hours were derived from what was posted on websites or shopfronts and in some case by telephone calls. This includes coffee shops, submarine sandwhich places, fast food, etc.

What's notceable is how limited the hours are.

And a number of these places appear to exist only to give denziens of office buildings an on-premises location for lunch or breakfast so they don't have to leave the building. So their viability is really depenent on building occupancy. An example of this is Swishers II in the old Cit-Fed building. The main tenant of that building is moving & Swishers II is reported to be closing. Probably a direct connection between the two.

After, say 5 and 6 PM, eating out downtown gets to be very limited. About the only true restaurants open are Uno, Spaghetti Warehouse, and China Royal, and Cold Beer & Cheeseburgers, which has more of a bar atmosphere.

Saturday Eats

What's suprising is that there is as much as there is. A few of the fast food places are open during the morning, but also, for the morning, Boston Stoker (must be an interesting crowd there), and the Chinese place at the bus hub. Arcade Seafood also does a daytime trade. So there is a small customer base downtown on weekends to keep more that the stalwart four (Unos, CB&C, Spaghouse, & China Royal) open.

(I put a question mark at Gregorys because I wasn't sure about their kitchen hours on Saturday evenings).

What's interesting is that the places that do well here, ones that stay open beyond the weekday lunch trade, are not yupscale trendy eateries but reliable, unpretentious ethnic, specialty (Arcade Seafood), and fast food places. The exception to this is Boston Stoker, which sort of has a arty/theatrical/performance thing going due to it's location across from the Schuster.


Anonymous said...

Concerning Saturdays, one place that you've not mentioned are the eating establishments at the 2nd St. Public Market. I imagine there are at least ten different places, all very diverse: from the traditional sandwich and soup places, to Hispanic, Thai, Hungarian, Crepe, Vegetarian/Vegan, etc. They do a boom business on Saturdays, but they are not what you would consider the traditional eateries in the CBD.

Jefferey said...

I was looking at the central business district, so I didnt look at places in Oregon or Webster Station or down toward UD.