DENVER — After more than two decades of serving customers in Five Points, the popular Welton Street Café is in danger of closing.
Restaurant co-owner Fathima Dickerson said issues with the restaurant’s building are threatening to shut down this community gathering place.
“Welton Street Café will be in jeopardy of closing its doors at the drop of a dime,” Dickerson said.
Dickerson said their biggest issue is their HVAC system not functioning properly.
On a hot day, the temperature inside of the kitchen can reach over 100 degrees making it too hot to cook and impossible to remain open.
Dickerson said the estimated cost of the HVAC repair is about $45,000, but there are other issues as well.
“The plumbing here is a headache, our elevator currently is not working, and that’s another $3,000 repair,” Dickerson said.
Dickerson said the restaurant has outgrown their 20-year-old kitchen as well.
“We can’t keep up with (orders), not in that kitchen,” she said.
Dickerson said the restaurant is hoping to raise $50,000 to address their immediate needs.
The owners of Welton Street Café do not own the building where they are located, but Dickerson said they want to help raise money to complete the necessary repairs.
“We feel like the money may be an issue, why these repairs are delayed. ... The reality is, we want to help them help us immediately,” Dickerson said.
When talking about the possibility of closing, Dickerson reflected on the impact the restaurant has had on the community.
“I’m 33 years old. ...This is my life. I have a rotating selfie board that tells a happy story. The Black community needs a happy story. This place is a happy place,” she said. “So, if it’s not here, there’s not going to be much of a future for Five Points in terms of legacy, in terms of a Black presence, in terms of a familiar face.”
Dickerson said Welton Street Café feeds the community, not just physically, but socially, emotionally, and soulfully.
She said they hope to raise enough money to keep their cooks in the kitchen and to continue feeding the community during a time when Black-owned businesses desperately need to survive.
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