New Restaurants Open Despite Economy

As the unemployment rate hit its lowest rate in two and a half years, the national jobs report showed some good economic news yesterday. In our region, business owners are cautiously optimistic that things are looking up. Several new restaurants have opened in recent weeks in Carbondale.

Kelly’s Irish Boxty House held it’s grand opening in Carbondale Saturday; the culmination of a 13-year dream for owner Kelly Conover. Conover owned an Irish Pub near Chicago and wanted to bring his most popular product to southern Illinois.

“The Irish Boxty is a potato crepe. Just a good buttery french fry flavor, but that is the delicacy that the irish have developed in the 1600s,” says Conover.

Conover believes that in a rough economy, offering something as unique as a Boxty will be key to making his business stand out.

“What makes it perfect for the American cuisine, is the fact that the Irish never knew what they were going to have to put in it. So if the neighbor had a chicken that day, it went into the boxty,” says Conover.

The Boxty House offers 20 different variations on the dish. Putting their own twist on favorites, ranging from Mexican to Italian classics. Kelly’s isnt’ the only new business in the area. Blend Tea & Crepe opened two months ago, just around the corner. There, the management also relies on a unique product for business success.

“Savory crepes, we have roast beef crepes, beef, turkey, ham, and then our sweet crepes which are probably more popular than the savory crepes,” says Manager Shawn Culhane.

James Elliott opened Mo Wallace BBQ-N-More seven months ago. Elliot began cooking and giving away food to the community after being laid off. Through his unemployment, he gained inspiration.

“I said to myself, if I ever get a restaurant. I want to make sure when people come in, they get nice hot food. I try to give you something, an experience,” says Owner Elliott.

Now that these new businesses are here, the real test of the strength of the local economy will be whether or not they’re able to stay in business.

Source: Sam Smith,


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