Daily Telegram Staff Writer
Posted May. 19, 2013 @ 3:00 pm
TECUMSEH — A busy downtown area is adding two more destinations.
A pair of new food and beverage establishments are planning to open later this year in downtown Tecumseh.
No dates have been finalized, but a Salsaria’s Mexican restaurant and the Tecumseh Brewing Co. brewpub are expected to open on either end of Chicago Boulevard downtown, said Paula Holtz, Tecumseh economic development director.
Salsaria’s is opening a restaurant at 146 E. Chicago Blvd. in the building currently occupied by the Ivy Gallery and Frame Shop. This will be their second location. The first is in the Crossroads Plaza on South Main Street in Adrian.
Holtz said the project is still in the early stages. The Tecumseh City Council at its May 6 meeting approved Salsaria’s application to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission for an on-site liquor license. Owner Valeria Robichaud has not been available for comment.
When Cowboys Grill at 128 W. Chicago Blvd. closed in 2011, Holtz said the search began for a new occupant, and the Tecumseh Brewing Co. stepped in. Details are still being finalized, but Holtz said the company has purchased the building and is making renovation plans.
Mayor Dick Johnson, whose family owns the Evans Street Station restaurant, said he is thrilled with the new businesses, even if it is competition.
“I am extremely pleased as both a business owner and as mayor,” he said. “The more events and traffic we get downtown, the better it is for businesses and everybody.”
The city has made a concerted effort to make downtown Tecumseh a vital part of its economic lifeblood, Holtz said. Besides locating retail establishments and restaurants in the central business district, artwork installations and community events are designed to bring people downtown.
“I’m so lucky. Downtown has been at the forefront of the community’s agenda for several decades,” Holtz said. “I don’t have a single storefront open on M-50 (Chicago Boulevard).”
Pointing to the festivals and other events happening downtown, Johnson agreed.
“We really promote the heck out of downtown,” he said. “It is amazing the cross section of people we get coming downtown.”
Events such as the Promenade Historic Home Tour, the Memorial Day parade and the autumn-themed Appleumpkin Festival are some of the special attractions to the downtown. Holtz said these events are part of the overall plan to feature the area and part of what has made so many businesses successful.
On the third Thursday during warm-weather months, a classic car, truck motorcycle and bicycle show takes place in the 100 block of North Ottawa Street and the adjoining United Bank & Trust parking lot. At the same time, free Music in the Park concerts take place in Adams Park adjacent to city hall, 309 E. Chicago Blvd. In recent years, the Art Trail has brought many visitors downtown to see the 15 to 17 sculptures located within walking distance.
The past two years has seen an influx of establishments in downtown Tecumseh. In April, The Spotted Cow opened in the former Chocolate Vault building, 110 W. Chicago Blvd., and Foundation Realty opened its second office next door at 116 W. Chicago. This is the third location for the ice cream vendor — the other two are in Adrian. The other Foundation Realty office is also in Adrian.
In March 2012, The Dog House opened in the former Eggleston Jewelers store, 107 E. Chicago Blvd. JR’s Hometown Pub and Grill opened in 2011 at 111 W. Chicago Blvd., which is the former location of Doby’s Smokehouse and the longtime site of Don’s Beef Buffet.
“These restaurants downtown bring people out in the evening,” Holtz said. “We are thrilled with a couple of new destinations. A brewpub is one of the fastest growing industries in Michigan today.”
Holtz said the city’s attractions and the lure of small-town life are highlighted in a Pure Michigan ad campaign that is running ads in nearby counties and states. The radio commercials featuring the voice of actor Tim Allen are scheduled to begin running before Memorial Day weekend, she said. Tecumseh businesses and the city pooled their resources to become part of the nationally recognized tourism campaign this year.
While it is too early to assess the impact of the marketing, city manager Kevin Welch told the Tecumseh City Council on April 1 that the city’s website had seen an increase in traffic. Holtz said preliminary information makes her optimistic that downtown Tecumseh will be a major draw for tourism.