DENVER (KDVR) — Restaurants around the nation are struggling following years of challenges kicked off by the pandemic. One Denver restaurant that has been a staple for years says other issues are forcing it to find a new building in the city to call home. Welton Street Cafe in Five Points says they need the community to keep them going.
“I know a lot of people are like you could apply for PPP or you can apply for blah blah blah. Actually, that’s not our story. Our story is that Welton Street Cafe survived the global pandemic off the strength of the customers,” Fathima Dickerson, Welton Street Cafe general manager said.
The cafe’s survival did not come without challenges. During the height of the pandemic, in the dead of summer, their HVAC system needed some major repairs.
“You know in 105 degrees, our deep fryer stopped cooking the chicken, our ice machines stopped making ice, every refrigeration, cooler, freezer everything failed,” Dickerson said.
The community was able to help them get their system fixed through a community fundraiser. But unlike then, the family who owns the restaurant says the building they have called home for decades, is too old with too many issues, making it difficult to meet their current needs.
“Our phones aren’t working either and so this building is old so we need a lot of repairs. So it’s like plumbing, electric,” Dickerson said.
They are already planning on moving into a new building, just down the street if they can raise enough money.
“Welton Street Cafe deserves to be welt street on Welton Street, to be in a historic Black district is important for us. We have been housed here for nearly 40 years and it’s important we try our best to be sure are keeping that cultural identity,” Dickerson said.
Longtime customers said they are urging others to give to keep one thing the same in an ever-changing neighborhood.
“I think a lot of the things that made Five Points, Five Points, as it relates to African American history and Black history down here are obsolete and are gone. So it’s one of the last symbols that we get to hold on to what it used to be while still trying to preserve its future,” longtime customer Ryan Fontenot said.
The GoFundMe for the restaurant was placed online this past Saturday. It has already made $50,000 in donations. The restaurant is looking for $200,000 over the next month. If they do not receive enough donations, owners said the restaurant will close on March 12.