There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth when the old Dreamers Coffee House under the Riverside Artist Lofts closed down (even more than when the famed nightclub and dive DelMar Station shut down years ago). Dreamers Coffee House & Deli is having its two-year anniversary this month at its new location at 701 S. Virginia St., 322-8040.
You ran Dreamers on the river for how long?
We were on the Riverwalk for eight years.
And when did you come here to Virginia and St. Lawrence?
We came here to Virginia and St. Lawrence in the Midtown section in August of 2012.
Is there a big difference between the two locations?
Yes. The big difference is down on the Riverwalk, there were lots and lots of office buildings, the court houses, lots of professional people that had law offices and the courtrooms and bank buildings that were surrounding us, as well as City Hall across the street and the post office. Here in Midtown, it’s more of a residential area, so I kind of paint myself more as a residential coffeehouse. On all four sides of us, we basically have residential areas, with just a few businesses scattered in.
And how does that work for you, is that more traffic and better money for you?
I think it’s a little bit slower because we don’t have the lunch crowds that we had down on the Riverwalk, where we were feeding so many professionals lunches and getting them breakfasts as well. Here, we are getting people who are getting coffee on the way to work or I get a number of people walking down from their residences to get a cup of coffee and then go home, so I don’t do as big of a lunch crowd as I did at the other place. But the coffee is getting more and more popular, and the breakfast sandwiches are starting to grow. That’s the nice part of that.
What about evenings? Midtown has a huge kind of hipster evening crowd around.
We do a lot of students in the evenings coming down to study. We have a number of people who come down to sit and relax and hang out and dates, but there are a lot of bars in the area, and it seems like the bars do pretty good in the evenings. It seems like the people do more bars than anything else in the evenings.
How do you attract the artists who display here?
We display local art like we did before. I just don’t have the same square footage for wall space. I do have artists who are wanting to display, wanting to show off. That’s a plus. People walk in to see the art that changes every four to six weeks. I’ve been getting more and more people inquiring, as well as the reputation that we had at the old place of hanging local artists.
Is there anything else we should talk about?
I like how Midtown has grown up. I like to see all the variety that’s coming down here. I like that. I like how it brings people to the corner because there’s a lot of stuff going on here. I’m glad I’m a part of that.