It seems that new eating and drinking establishments have been clamoring to open in downtown Youngstown the past few years, but one business will be closing for the last time this weekend.
For more than seven years, Cafe Cimmento has been a popular spot for people to get a bite to eat before and after a show or event at the Covelli Centre a couple blocks away. At one point, the restaurant added more dining space hoping to take advantage of the crowds going to the arena.
But owner George Mager said Thursday he has grown tired of the business. His son, who serves as the cafe’s chef, is taking another job in a different line of work, and competition from other newer restaurants and bars on the west end of the downtown is cutting into his bottom line.
But Mager said his biggest mistake was when he expanded from a small mom-and-pop establishment and added an extra dining room.
“I did well when I just had 50, 60 seats. We made money. But after the expansion, the extra costs, double rent, a few more employees, the BSA loan. It was just too much,” Mager said.
And while expenses grew, so did the competition. More than half a dozen new bars and restaurants have opened or remodeled on the west end of the downtown and more are expected, taking advantage of the economic development nearby from VXI, the Voinovich Government Center and the Youngstown Business Incubator.
“Since I’ve been here, in the last year and half, two years, seven new places opened up over there, which cut the pie for lunch. Lunch was our base every day and the pie got cut up,” Mager said.
He said his last day in business will be Saturday. While he had hoped the addition of new apartments in the downtown area, along with spinoff business from the Covelli Centre, would have provided more of a boost for the restaurant, he said it’s just never been consistent enough.
“There’s so much happening at that end. And for business owners, they notice that and there’s where they see the money. That’s where they think they’ll be able to create the money,” said Lyndsey Hughes, director of marketing for downtown Youngstown.
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