‘Crave-worthy’ cuisine: Downtown dynamic shifts with influx of new restaurants
As the lunch rush slowed Thursday, Jim and Kalie Corrigan smiled with relief.
But even as it passed 2 p.m., more customers stopped into their downtown sandwich shop, called Bread and Batter. They were glad to see it though, as it meant success for opening day of their business at Fifth Avenue and Main Street in Mitchell.
For the past two summers, the couple has operated only a seasonal, to-go business in the courtyard across from the Corn Palace. But thanks to the community and the shop’s savory sandwiches, the Corrigans expanded. The shop now is open all year round, has more seating and a larger menu.
“We just want to continue to make the community happy and provide a crave-worthy product that people got to have,” Kalie said.
The shop is the first of two new eateries on Mitchell’s Main Street and a welcomed change of pace in the historic downtown where food joints and restaurants are few and far in between.
Along with Bread and Batter, the owner of Kimball-based The Back 40 recently announced her plan to take over the prominent Main Street space that recently housed the Moonlight Bar & Lounge. The Back 40 will complete its move to Mitchell in March 2018.
“I’m thrilled to see new restaurants in the downtown area because they provide the variety of services that we need to make it a vibrant neighborhood,” said Jeff Logan, owner of Logan Luxury Theatres in Mitchell and president of the Mitchell Main Street and Beyond Board of Directors.
Logan said the goal of Main Street is to provide an array of options to its residents. But to do so within a six-block area, Logan said a certain number of restaurants, bars, convenience stores, retail and residential spaces are needed to maintain vibrancy.
The two additions will benefit Mitchell’s Main Street greatly, Logan said, adding that whether they’re geared toward breakfast, lunch or dinner, it provides a service the city’s lacked.
“They have a good chance,” Logan said. “ … Mitchell is a good town for restaurants and they usually do well here.”Full of ideas
To avoid the same fate as other restaurants on Main that have closed their doors, such as Yessica’s Restaurant, the Corrigans have a plan.
Consistency, value, quality ingredients and delivering a product people are looking for are their main priorities.
“We just jump in and hope for the best, and if we’re having a good time and feel like we’re making people happy, we’ll just keep doing it,” Kalie said. “We have faith in the fact that the product and our personalities speak for themselves.”
And their motto for success is simple.
“It’s not too complicated,” Jim said. “We want to make some good food, make a few bucks and make people happy.”
The menu is similar to their past offerings, as they bring back waffle sandwiches and other signature items from the first two seasons of business, including some new combos. They also plan to add soups to the menu.
Kalie said they do their best to do everything from scratch and source products locally, adding to the shop’s authenticity.
“We like to think the food is an experience — something different and unexpected,” she said.
The shop’s hours will be Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with hopes to remain “just as speedy” as they were in their smaller shop in the courtyard.
After the couple gets the hang of their new location, they plan to expand their menu to include breakfast, brunch and even mimosas. Taking it day-by-day, the Corrigans would also like to take advantage of the sidewalk wine sales permit allowed in downtown Mitchell, adding outdoor seating in the front next summer.
“That’s the thing, there’s no shortage of ideas for us,” Kalie said.
Kalie, who grew up in Mitchell, and Jim, a New York native, moved to Mitchell in 2012. And now celebrating five years since their return to the Palace City, they’re hoping to become a long-time staple on Mitchell’s Main Street.Making downtown a destination with The Back 40
Keke Leiferman remains tight-lipped on her grand plans to redo the former Moonlight’s space, and she’s anxious to open and surprise Mitchell with her unique cuisine combined with live music.
Leiferman wants to provide a full evening experience for her customers. And with a large venue, with a capacity of 250, she’s looking to make a big impact on Mitchell’s Main Street.
“I don't see anybody in Mitchell combining food, music and an entire evening of an experience, so I think that’s what might make us unique,” she said.
The Back 40 will be open Tuesday through Sunday, Leiferman said, with a special offer on Sundays called the Sunday acoustic brunch. Combining acoustic musicians with a gourmet breakfast menu, Leiferman anticipates Mitchell residents will enjoy the ambiance.
She also plans to have two separate rental rooms that could be used for private parties, business or conference needs. With large separated spaces in the building, she will have different dining spaces, separating the media or TV room from the live music space.
Leiferman said she’s confident in her success with The Back 40, especially her location near the Corn Palace, which downtown business and restaurants “don’t capitalize on,” she said.
“As far as I’m concerned, I love downtown Sioux Falls and I loved what they did with it, and I think it’d be great and awesome to have downtown Mitchell thriving with live music at night and having all kinds of people excited to go downtown, walk around and have fun,” she said.Welcome to the neighborhood
At times, the downtown district may seem like a “ghost town” after 5:30 p.m. according to Logan. And even though his theater is open along with several bars, there’s still been something missing.
“You want to bring a mix of young people, old people, families, singles and you want to have something for everyone, so this is just a tremendously helpful and healthy addition to downtown,” Logan said.
The Back 40 and Bread and Batter aren’t the only Main Street businesses to make some changes, Dr. Lucky’s Bar & Grill has also recently undergone some renovation, adding live music, a large outdoor patio and new dance floor area.
These renovations as well as the new restaurant additions will bring bountiful benefits to Main Street businesses according to Steve Culhane, owner of Scoreboard Pub & Grille.
During the summer months, Culhane said, tourists have noticed the empty buildings near the Corn Palace, choosing to not stop or explore downtown.
But with more to offer on Main Street, everyone will benefit, he said.
“We welcome them to the neighborhood,” Culhane said. “If we can fill that gap down there by the Corn Palace, that’s what we need to do.”