The Venue, located at 521 W. Broad St., is known for loud, all-ages punk rock shows. But owners Jenean and Johann Claus hope it will soon be known for coffee, pastries, paninis, beer and wine.
The couple took over the Venue in the summer of 2011 and began planning for a restaurant, called the Beatnik Cafe, two months ago.
“We really want to have a space that’s going to be open and available for people in the community during the day,” Johann said.
The couple hopes to draw in students from Concordia Law School across the street, as well as patrons from the 40 businesses surrounding The Venue.
The Beatnik Cafe will offer coffee, espresso and pastries in the morning, hot sandwiches and soups at lunch, and mini pizzas, pretzels and nachos in the evening. After obtaining their restaurant license, the couple hopes for a beer and wine endorsement.
Johann said draft beers will not be added right away, but may be in the future, as well as local brews and wines. He isn’t worried about underage drinking becoming a problem.
“I think it will be a safer environment if the people who are old enough to have a drink are able to do it in an open setting rather than sneaking it somewhere else,” Johann said.
He added that strenuous ID checking will curb the problem, as well. Drinks will have to stay in a segregated part of The Venue and will not be allowed onto the dance floor.
For now, The Venue makes little money after paying bands and technicians. With the help of food and alcohol profits, owners hope to keep ticket prices low.
Johann said the cafe should be up and going by September. With the kitchen equipment already purchased, the couple is relying on a Kickstarter campaign to raise $15,000 for construction costs. As of press time, $1,080 has been raised.