Thursday, March 17, 2016

The 2008 restaurant jinx

During a visit to Hilldale earlier this week, I spotted another area restaurant that recently went out of business. 

Flat Top Grill, located across from Sundance Cinemas, is part of a Chicago-based chain whose parent company filed for bankruptcy in January 2013.  I assume the reorganization plan did not go well.  

I wasn't a big fan of the select-your-own-ingredients-and-take-them-to-the-grill operation.

As a dinner option, specifically.

"If we're out to eat. I don't want to have to serve myself," I grumbled whenever a family member suggested a return visit.  

Needless to say, my wife and I never visited the now-defunct Prime Quarter Steak House, where you grilled your own meat.

But, hey, you can't blame that one on me!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Officials want Cambridge to be tourist destination again

Wisconsin State Journal, 8/19/2012.

Excerpt: The last 10 years have not been kind to this village, but officials, business owners and recreational enthusiasts are working together to restore the crowds. 

Instead of bus tours, the vision is more broad in this village of just more than 1,200 people on the border of Dane and Jefferson counties. 

Restaurants and shops are still seen as key components, but the village is trying to attract those who bike, kayak, canoe, paddleboard and cross-country ski. Koshkonong Creek, Lake Ripley and CamRock County Park provide the opportunities.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

On Wisconsin: Platteville on cusp of building boom

Wisconsin State Journal, 5/13/2012.

Excerpt:   In the early 2000s, UW-Platteville had just more than 4,000 students. This year, 8,214 are enrolled with about 5,500 of them included in the city's population of 11,224. The phenomenal growth has helped the downtown business district where there are few vacancies and some businesses, such as Momentum Bikes and Los Amigos Restaurant, are expanding.

But finding a place to live here has become a challenge. Of the city's single-family homes, half are rental properties, primarily occupied by students. That has meant slim pickings for non-students who work in the community but are forced to live elsewhere or have difficulty affording the inflated rents. For families that do find a place, it often can mean families and student housing mixed on the same block.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Eau Claire: Ramada deemed vital for downtown

Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, 4/11/2012.

Excerpt: Business owners and city leaders say a hotel complex such as the Ramada Convention Center, which faces foreclosure proceedings, is vital to Eau Claire's downtown.

Mike Schatz, economic development director for the city and executive director for the Redevelopment Authority and Downtown Eau Claire Inc., knows the value of the hotel and convention center.

"It brings in outside dollars in the form of convention attendees and tourists visiting the community who will shop in the downtown stores," Schatz said.

Jane Wolf, owner of Silver Feather, a shop on South Barstow Street that sells American Indian jewelry, music and crafts, has seen a host of hotel patrons in her 24 years at the store.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

40 years later, committee's vision of river walk taking shape

Oshkosh Northwestern, 4/4/2012.

Excerpt:   Blassingame, 77, and Leonard Reinke, 93, were two of the 11 members of the Riverfront Beautification Committee that was tasked with coming up with ideas for how to transform the Fox River area from an ugly eyesore into an area that residents could access and enjoy. In a report the committee issued in 1971, one of its long-range suggestions was developing a continuous walkway system along the waterfront.

At that time, industrial properties lined the riverfront and streets that ended at the river were dumping grounds for unwanted fill and trash. Erosion, weeds and unused boat slips and channels not only made the river look blighted, but also made it unsafe.

"This was simply an ugly part of the city," Blassingame said.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Fifth Avenue, La Crosse: Once-great retail center struggles as rest of downtown rebounds

La Crosse Tribune, 2/13/2012.

ExcerptOnce the heart of La Crosse's retail district, Fifth Avenue has struggled in recent years, even as other parts of downtown have rebounded in the decades since the opening of the Valley View Mall. There's nothing wrong with the street or the buildings - with the possible exception of the Hollywood Theatre - but for at least half a decade, vacant storefronts have dominated this once magnificent stretch of Fifth.

Monday, January 23, 2012

West Baraboo JC Penney will close its doors

Baraboo News-Republic, 1/20/2012.

Excerpt: The first Baraboo-based JCPenney opened on Third Street in 1929. The store moved to its current location in 1989.

Ashland Wisconsin is also losing its Penneys store.