Main St. Café’s last day in business is October 26.
That’s the bad news for the avid customers of the locally owned restaurant in the small commercial complex across the street from Carl’s Jr. on West Yosemite Avenue.
But owner Jakkie Arellano was smiling as she made the announcement, because on the flipside of the otherwise sad news of her business closing, she has good news.
A popular sports bar and grill in Stanislaus County called Shooters Wings & Things will be taking over the café location in November.
“He is taking over the lease and is buying all the kitchen equipment,” except for a couple of things that he is not going to need, Arellano said Wednesday when she made her announcement.
And although she admits that, like everybody else in this tough economy, “it’s been rough, but it’s still making it,” she said about maintaining her small restaurant, she also could not turn down “this opportunity to sell our business.” It all started two weeks ago when a friend told her about knowing someone who is planning on expanding his business and that her café seems to meet the location criteria that he was looking for. Not long after that, two weeks ago to be exact, “I met this man” – Danny Gray, the owner of Shooters & Wings – and shortly thereafter, they completed the negotiations.
While she feels bad about closing the business that she nurtured for nearly a decade, Arellano is happy that the new business that will be taking over the place “will bring more jobs and people” to Manteca.
“I hope and pray that Manteca will welcome him with open arms as much as they supported us,” she said. “My wish for my customers is that they support someone local. I hope they can find a local shop that they can support.”
Arellano is also happy that another “locally owned business and not a chain” will be opening at the Main St. Café location, and that it will not be just a boarded up vacant place. Which is why she was disheartened to learn that the family-owned DaVinci Restaurant in the Marketplace shopping center across the street is also closing at the end of the month. A sign is already up in front of the restaurant announcing the availability of the soon-to-be vacant space.
Arellano emphasized that Main St. Café is closing not because the business is losing money. “We’re closing because someone offered me money in a down economy. I can’t complain,” Arellano said, flashing her trademark toothy smile.
Plus, after nine years of singlehandedly operating and running Main Street, with help from members of her family, “I’m a little tired,” she said.
In the nearly a decade of maintaining her business, she has never had “any five days off in a row. I eat, breathe, and sleep Main St. Café,” she said while still managing to throw a smile.
“The food industry is tricky,” she explained. Whether she has one table of customers, or a full house, she still has to have food in the back “for all the tables,” she said, adding that these are not frozen food but “homemade quality stuff.”
Since Arellano doesn’t plan on opening another restaurant, and with Shooters & Wings not purchasing the rest of the equipment including everything in the dining area, Arellano said she plans to have a Main St. Café garage sale on Wednesday, Oct. 31, with “times to be determined.” Also, although the restaurant’s last day is Oct. 26, “we’ll continue to do coffees in the mornings until Friday, Nov. 2,” she said.
A bittersweet goodbye
Arellano is happy that she is ending her restaurant career on a positive note.
“But it’s a little bittersweet because I’ve made tons of friends here,” she said.
People from all walks of life, from the mayor to local pastors “meet here,” Arellano said, as well as home-school moms,” plus a long list of groups and organizations that have enjoyed meeting in her cozy and stylish dining area complete with framed photographs that she herself has taken and others by local artists decorating the walls. A piano in one corner and generous seating areas with couches and sofas, plus a book shelf with actual reading materials next to a blown-up photograph of her family, also lend a comfortable home-like ambience to the Café.
It’s a dining and meeting setting that has been enjoyed by groups that have their regular meetings here, such as the Hispanic Chamber, Calvary Ministries, Relay for Life, Crime Stoppers, the Central Valley Association of Realtors board, and the Junior Women and the Postal Union at one time.
Main St. Café also will be long remembered for being the venue for concerts, as well as a local business that supported many local causes including the Relay for Life, Susan G. Komen Walk for Breast Cancer Cure, Sober Graduations, bunco fund-raisers, among many others.
Going out of the restaurant business is just “a hiatus” for Arellano. At the moment, the East Union High graduate who worked as a Manteca Unified School District employee while going to night school, is working in real estate with Crossroads Coldwell Banker. She has been in real estate since 2005. The hiatus also will her more time now to pursue a favorite hobby – stand-up paddleboarding.