Cornbread Cafe set to expand, but money could temper timelines

Cornbread Cafe set to expand, but money could temper timelines (SBG).

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - A vegan-based restaurant in Eugene made famous on the Food Network is making plans to expand to Springfield.

The Cornbread Cafe will start catering food from its new location in three weeks.

Cornbread Cafe opened for business in 2010 at 7th and Polk, and soon started to draw a dedicated customer based. That base exploded when the cafe was featured on the "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" show on the Food Network.

Now the owner, Sheree Walters, says that they simply need more room.

Keeping the customers satisfied is the mission for Walters. It's a mission that's about to expand to Main Street in Springfield. Walters has leased some space next door to Plank Town.

"We just recently got the kitchen built out, and the kitchen ended up taking our entire budget for the whole build out," said Walters.

So far, that's nearly a $300,000 investment.

Walters says that the Cornbread didn't qualify for a downtown matching loan from the City of Springfield, or otherwise her new restaurant might be open this month.

The City of Springfield did approve the use of Urban Renewal District funds to pay for the company’s local system development charges, which saved the business $30,000.

But still, she has not lost sight of the end goal.

"I'm very confident -- I'm not discouraged," said Walters. "It's definitely been a roller coaster, but this whole industry is a roller coaster."

Walters will start hiring soon to start filling large catering orders out of Springfield, more new jobs.

"We'll probably need at least 40 in Springfield, but we have 25 here in our little tiny 1000 square foot restaurant," said Walters.

Profits from the catering will be fed into building out the restaurant and bar, and a plan to open sometime in September. Walters says that she can't wait to be a part of the downtown Springfield renaissance.

Walters says they'll be supporting music and Springfield arts on a regular basis from Cornbread Cafe East. She says that a big name band is set to perform when they open the doors in September; Cherry Poppin' Daddies.

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