Seven years ago, the owner of Alimento Catering and Kitchenworks told The Queens County Advance about his plan to eventually open a restaurant.
Williams adds it’s something he’s wanted to do since he was 20.
“The concept is that it’s very casual, family dining,” says Williams. “It will be a reflection of what we’ve done here over the last seven years.”
Some of what’s sold in the store, such as salads and burgers, will also be sold in the restaurant to take home, and Williams says he could see eventually selling meat as well.
“It’s going to be an all-day menu, so you know what you’re getting whether you walk in at 11 a.m. when we open or 9 p.m. when we’re closing,” says Williams.
There will also be several other menus, including a feature menu. Something else Williams says he plans to have is “family-style service.” These meals would have to be pre-booked and would not be available upon walk-in, he explains.
Since the closure of the mill, people have asked Williams whether he’s still considering his project.
“If anything, it made me decide, ‘Got to go. It’s time,’” he says.
“A great restaurant in a small community is really a sense of identity. It really is a place where people come together.”
Despite his excitement and enthusiasm, Williams acknowledges one of the challenges is selling a package for something that isn’t yet tangible.
Rather than seek funding, Williams and Mansfield are selling 250 packages, $300 each. A package will include an $100 gift card for the shop, an $100 gift card for the eatery, a “family-style” dinner for four valued at $150, a complimentary bottle of wine with the dinner, 75 per cent off corking fees for a year and 25 per cent off kitchen ware for a year.
“The concept is that throughout the summer and into the fall, we’re going to see if the interest is there,” he says.
“We’ve been told for years that we need to open a restaurant. The community support has been overwhelming.”
He says this is the final confirmation to see whether the market needs a restaurant.
“If the interest is there very quickly, we’ll simply move forward immediately,” Williams says.
The hope is most of the packages are signed up for between now and November, he says.
When the 250-person target is reached, Williams and Mansfield will contact people who have signed up and make the packages available for sale.
“We’re asking our customers, our local community, if you invest in us, we’ll pay you back,” he says.
Getting funding for restaurants is difficult, says Williams. He says it’s therefore important to think outside the box. He says to sustain a restaurant has become difficult, which is why many are closing.
One of the things Williams says The Alimento Eatery will offer is consistency and local food.
Williams says serving people he knows in the community he’s grown up in is rewarding.
People can sign up for packages at Alimento.