The future of Welton Street Cafe is still unclear as it prepares to close its doors on March 12 after 36 years in business — 22 of which have been at 2736 Welton Street. Although its owners, the Dickerson family, have leased a new location just down the street at 2883 Welton Street and raised nearly $100,000 toward the new restaurant’s buildout, the total cost for the project will be approximately $600,000, says Fathima Dickerson, who serves as spokesperson for the family-owned business.
The new building stands hollow, needing electricity, plumbing and a full kitchen and bar, the latter of which will be a new addition to the restaurant, which previously did not have a liquor license.
The restaurant’s GoFundMe campaign, which launched in January, has raised $93,536 to date — most of which came in early. “The momentum [for the GoFundMe] has died down drastically,” notes Fathima. “But the support that we’ve gotten has been super, super beautiful to witness.”
The community has stepped up with additional fundraisers, too. Local retailers have produced and sold Welton Street Cafe gear and businesses have hosted events, while customers having been visiting frequently. The next step will be to seek a financial institution with which to partner, which the Dickersons have not had success with yet. But first, Fathima and her family have to focus on closing the restaurant and serving its customers until its final day. "People are piling in,” Fathima notes.
She estimates that once permits are attained, which will take a few months, the new restaurant’s construction will require another five to seven months. In the interim, the Dickersons are touring commissary kitchen options so they can offer catering and pop-ups. They are looking for a temporary space that includes both a kitchen and a small seating area, but nothing is finalized yet.
The closing and fundraising for this Denver institution has been an emotional ride for the family, but they remain hopeful that after nearly four decades in the community, the absence will be temporary.
Follow Welton Street Cafe on Instagram and Facebook for updates about its move and fundraising efforts. The restaurant will be open at 2736 Welton Street from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday though Friday and noon to 7 p.m. Saturday until March 12.