The Downtown Deli in Laurinburg has shut it doors.
But the closing will be short lived.
Owners Frances and Jim Willis say they expect to have the business back open next week not as a lunch spot, but as a catering and event facility.
The couple, who also own the print and embroidery store Shirt-tales, which is two doors down from the Main Street deli, said the restaurant and its catering sideline did well during its two-year run — perhaps too well.
“What happened was that the catering side of it continued to grow,” Jim Willis said. “And we were trying to run three businesses, Shirttales, Downtown Deli and the catering side — especially Frances — it was just too much.”
Frances Willis, who ran the restaurant, agreed.
“The community really supported us and there is definitely a market here,” she said. “But I couldn’t be in two places at once. The catering was pulling me away on a daily basis. I was trying to do it all and there were just not enough hours in the day.”
Jim and Frances said that they decided to close the restaurant, but continue to cater events.
“Looking forward, we just believe that the catering is where we need to be in terms of profitability and reduced stress,” Jim Willis said.
The catering side will be called Wild Flower Catering and will offer services for large and small functions ranging from corporate meetings to parties of four.
The facility itself will be called the Downtown Club and will serve as a venue for wedding receptions, business meetings and private parties.The facility expects to host first event next Tuesday.
The couple were making renovations inside theformer restaurant Wednesday afternoon, removing counters and installing carpet. The new space will be able to seat up 100 people. The deli had room for about 78.
“There is a need for a rental facility of this size, but also be able to give you the facility, catering and alcohol all in one place,” Jim Willis said.
Still Frances Wills said that she would miss the deli’s hectic pace. The restaurant, which attracted a large crowds around noon offered a variety of soups, sandwiches and salads.
“I’m going to miss the atmosphere and my regular customers,” she said. “But they can have their occasions here and we can see each other again.”
The restaurant used to be the Main Street Brews and before that the Daily Grind.
It can be reached at 276-9008.