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Al Key - DRC

New ‘Sidewalk’

Profile image for By Karina Ramírez / Staff Writer
By Karina Ramírez / Staff Writer
Sidewalk Cafe server Catherine Harrington holds a vanilla cake, one of the many desserts provided by Poppyseed Baking Co., locally owned by Deanie Willis and Amy Griffin.Al Key - DRC
Sidewalk Cafe server Catherine Harrington holds a vanilla cake, one of the many desserts provided by Poppyseed Baking Co., locally owned by Deanie Willis and Amy Griffin.
Al Key - DRC

Restaurant in Unicorn Lake area develops two-in-one concept

For the past couple of months, the owners of Sidewalk Bistro have continued to explain to their customers how their new business concept works. As of Jan. 27, Sidewalk Bistro added a new eatery next door.

“It is one business with two concepts under one,” Techy Salas, 48, said about Sidewalk Cafe, the business she co-owns with her longtime friends and business partners, Yolanda Calderón, 47, and Maria Burchard, 45.

The new eatery has helped the owners increase their seating capacity from 49 to 150. Salas said they never considered expanding their original concept but realized they needed more room. Before the addition of the cafe, customers on Sunday, for example, would have to wait more than 20 minutes.

“At Sidewalk Bistro, we only had 12 tables and no waiting space,” Salas said. “We were at the mercy of the customer whenever it was crowded.”

Now the owners say the business feels more comfortable, and they even introduced a new menu that includes salads, tacos and other plates.

“It is homemade but at a reasonable price,” Burchard said.

Burchard said they worked on a new menu for the bistro side of the business and retained the original Sidewalk Bistro menu for use at the cafe. They also added desserts from Poppyseed Baking Co., a local business owned by Deanie Willis and Amy Griffin.

Customers are told they can order from both the bistro and the cafe — no matter which door they enter — the owners said.

Burchard said the cafe side was redecorated. Wall color changed from an antique white to a Tiffany green, and they added books for decor and also added shades.

“We brightened it up,” Burchard said. “It helps the area feel cooler.”

When Sidewalk Bistro opened two years ago, the owners introduced their New American-style menu to the Unicorn Lake development. It was the trio’s first time at restaurant ownership, although they have owned their hair salon on Elm Street since 1993.

Since then, they have kept their business going, as others closed around them. Sidewalk Cafe was the former Cafe China, which closed its doors last Labor Day weekend after only two years in business. Cafe Du Luxe, located near the main entrance of the development, also closed last year around the Thanksgiving.

Via their Facebook page, the owner of Cafe China said she felt small, almost invisible when her restaurant was there. She also felt Denton was attracting more chain restaurants, which ultimately hurt her business.

And as of Friday, a pizza location called Big Joe’s also closed its doors. It was the third time a pizza place attempted to be successful in that area. Big Joe’s is four doors away from Sidewalk Bistro.

Often, a challenge for Sidewalk Bistro customers is finding the actual restaurant, Salas said. The restaurant is located in the back of the Unicorn Lake development. But with help from recent social media efforts, it appears the restaurant is getting more traffic.

Earlier this year, the owners added their business to Four Square, a social media platform, and also use Trip Advisor, a customer review website, said Steve Zarella, the owner of Fourth Circle Enterprises, a local mobile, social and marketing firm that helps the owners with their publicity.

“We had a family that was going to Oklahoma, and they found us by using their phone,” Salas said.

Zarella said the sites have helped the restaurant announce their events. When the owners held their grand opening in April, many people found them through Four Square.

Aimee Bissett, the city’s economic development director said she is unaware of any other businesses in town who had done something similar to Sidewalk Bistro. The only thing that separates the businesses is an open door frame.

The owners said they are amazed at how well clients have embraced the concepts.

Now that owners run what feels like three business, feeling tired is normal. They are often asked to explain the meaning of the word YOMATE, a sign located on one of the walls of their cafe.

“That is how we know who is working when,” Salas said.

Yo for Yolanda, Ma for Maria and Te for Techy, the owners said.

Hours for Sidewalk Cafe — located at 2900 Wind River Lane — are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Sidewalk Cafe hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday and Saturday.


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