By Adam Droscha
Bobby, Chase, and Kathy opened a small, cozy Mexican restaurant this summer. It was sort of a surprise to all of them. Bobby didn’t think that opening a restaurant would be part of his retirement plans. Now, just a few months into the venture, the restaurant has expanded and moved closer to the busy excitement of downtown Eaton Rapids.
Madre’s previous location wasn’t far from the new one. Really the biggest difference with the move is the size of the restaurant. The three owners knew that the cramped building located at 400 S. Main Street, which has always struggled to hold tenants, would be a challenge. There was minimal space for everything, whether it was the kitchen, seating area, or counter space. But the new building, the former location of the Eaton Rapids Coffee Company, is spacious and expanded.
On top of already having a practically doubled floor space, the new Madre location now includes the back half of the building, which was not originally offered for other businesses that occupied the space. Chase and Bobby knocked out the back wall, so the restaurant enjoys a much larger kitchen space. The larger kitchen allowed Madre to expand its menu and provide a more thorough and relaxed eating experience.
Kathy has been pleasantly surprised by the bump in traffic at the restaurant. The more central and expanded location at 203 S Main St. (directly across from City Hall) allows for 30 to 40 customers at a time, and the dinner rush has experienced a full house. The larger space and growing numbers during meal times is creating more of a wait staff feel for Madre, according to Chase. Before Madre was quick and simple, but the new building lets customers enjoy a more laid back environment and more complex dishes.
The transition was easy enough for Madre, especially because the move was right down the street. There was minimal renovation in the dining area, and the additions to the kitchen didn’t take long to install. Madre opened at the new location Nov. 29, and the word of mouth in the small town of Eaton Rapids helped spread the news about the establishment’s move. Bobby, Kathy, and Chase still greet many of the same faces. They learned quickly that owning a business in a smaller community means relationships are key.
Chase and his partners want readers and customers to know that Madre is still offering a homey Mexican dining experience. Taco Tuesdays are still going, and those who used to walk over for lunch just have a one-block difference in distance. The same friendly faces will be there to greet and serve customers. They are grateful for the support in their first months of being open, and they’re grateful even more now as the move and expansion reassures them of a worthwhile endeavor.