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Casino Real betting on fine dining restaurant
The old Main Street Café next to Casino Real could be the location of a new fine dining restaurant if the city approves the plans that are currently being drawn up. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL
Dennis Williams thinks that it’s about time that Manteca gets a much-needed fine dining restaurant.

And he knows just the place he wants to put it.

Williams – who serves as the general manager for Casino Real – is currently getting plans drawn up to transform the shell of what used to be the Main Street Café into a restaurant that specializes in Continental cuisine.

The original plans to place the restaurant inside of the complex itself – by turning the vacant cinema rooms into a restaurant setting – never made it past the planning stages. Williams said that the city wanted too much done to the parking lot to make those plans feasible.

But with a plan in place to lease out the smaller, yet more renovation ready café space, Williams hopes that a dream that has been more than three years in the making will finally become reality.

“I think it’s something that the community can definitely use, and I get people that come up to me and talk about how they would frequent the restaurant once it’s officially opened,” Williams said. “I think that says a lot, and hopefully they keep their promise if we get the approval that’s needed.”

Why it might not be the best time to open a restaurant economically speaking, Williams believes that all that would be required to keep the doors open would be to break even – thanks to the revenue from the neighboring card room that draws people from throughout the region.

Currently architects are drafting plans that will be submitted to the city’s planning department for consideration, and Williams believes once the final say-so gets approved, it would only take two or three months to complete the necessary renovations.

“The original plan to convert the vacant theaters would have required transforming the floor and changing the cinder-block walls,” he said. “That would have been much more labor intensive. While the café is a little bit smaller, it would also be cozier.

“All we’d have left to do, since we have the kitchen on that side of the building already, is make some cosmetic changes to get everything up and running.”

And it only takes a quick glance at the booths already installed inside of Casino Real to see how the restaurant – which has yet to be named – will look once completed.

Two of the five booths are roped off for special occasions, and are set to include wine glasses, cloth napkins, and fine china – an inside glimpse into what Williams hopes to bring to the community.

“I just think that there should be another choice for the people of this community,” Williams said. “Hopefully everything goes according to plan with the city so that we can work towards opening this up.”