Main Street Cafe owner hopes to open in Hartford soon
Another downtown storefront no longer vacant

By Joe VanDeLaarschot

Sept. 12, 2019

 The Main St. Cafe, 48 N. Main St. in Hartford, should be opening within the next 30-60 days. That’s according to the new business’s owner Vicente Flores. Monday night the city’s Plan Commission approved the businesses sign for the location, which had been vacant for around 10 years and was the former home of a Chinese restaurant. Flores said the business will offer a variety of food.
Joe VanDeLaarschot/Daily News Staff

HARTFORD — Another new business will soon open in the city’s downtown and fill another of the area’s vacant storefronts.

Main Street Cafe owner Vicente Flores said he hopes to open the new downtown restaurant at 48 N. Main St. sometime within the next 30 to 60 days. The looming opening of the new business seems to grant more credence to Mayor Tim Michalak’s August prediction that “within 12-18 months we are not going to have an empty storefront in the downtown.”

At the city’s Monday night Plan Commission meeting some commissioners said they believed the building has been vacant for around 10-12 years.

“I think it’s a good location and the city’s downtown is certainly making some improvements,” Flores said. “I have another business in the Janesville area and we’re hoping this one can be successful too.”

Simultaneously, work is continuing on construction of the 82-unit apartment building (Rincon 225) downtown, about a block away from the Main Street Cafe’s location.

Flores said he doesn’t know the exact date for opening the new business because he has had to complete a great deal of renovation inside the building to change it from what was once a Chinese restaurant to a more typical one. He also has other details to finalize. On Monday night, however, the commission did approve his proposal for a sign on the front of the business.

The sign is above the main entrance and meets all of the city’s sign regulations, but Michalak, who chairs the commission, expressed disappointment that Flores had posted the sign before receiving city approval.

“He has been very cooperative. He just did not know the process and nothing was done intentionally,” said City Planner Justin Drew.

The fee for the sign would normally be about $115, and could have been doubled because of the violation. But Drew said he didn’t see the need to impose a penalty.

“We have done that a couple of times, generally we just work to get the owner to comply, but if they don’t that’s when we would double it,” Drew said.

He said if he had it to do over he would have asked Flores to remove the sign until he received final city approval.

“We’re going to have Mexican, American food. We’re going to offer a variety,” Flores said. “We’re really looking forward to opening. We just have a few more things to finish because we had to replace the ceilings and the floors and some other things too.”