EUGENE, Ore. — They’re all over downtown Eugene–the signs of development. There’s First on Broadway, which is set to open in a few months. Or the Lane Community College building that finally filled “the pit.” At 55 West Broadway, development first means destruction.
“There were about four more walls up than there are now,” said Tiffany Norton, Party Cart Co-Owner.
Crews tore apart the interior of the building to bring two businesses together: Red Wagon Creamery and Party Downtown.
“We’ve finally outgrown our spaces in the parking lots,” said Stuart Phillips, Red Wagon Creamery Co-Owner.
One end of the building, the side that faces Broadway, will host Red Wagon Creamery. The organic, locally sourced ice cream maker will finally get its own churning room.
“For two years, we go outside and sell ice cream during the day, then go in the middle of the night to make it for the next day. Now we’ll be able to actually make it during the day and then sleep like normal people at night,” Phillips said.
The other end, opening onto a parking lot at 8th and Olive, is where the party will be–Party Downtown, that is. It’s the restaurant version of Party Cart, the popular food cart at 28th Avenue and Friendly Street.
“We’re still going to do as close to 100 percent local, including cocktails, wine and beer,” Norton said. “We’re really looking forward to having more equipment and space for more than one person to cook at a time.”
The new space, with its kitchen and seating area, will let party owners Mark Komicki and Norton experiment more.
“We’re taking a little more freedom to be creative,” Norton said.
Creative is what you might call this partnership in an industry that’s typically fiercely competitive.
“Having two restaurants in one space, sharing a kitchen and sharing some of the other areas, it took some thinking,” Phillips said. “But it’s been fun to work with Mark and Tiffany and just have our friendship with them grow as our businesses have grown together.”
“They’re our good friends, so it’s fun to work with them,” Norton said.
The friends share a vision of using their locally grown fare to keep business growing locally.
“It was personally important to me to put our flagship store downtown because we need to stake our claim and say, ‘This part of Eugene is going to thrive, and we’re going to help it,'” Phillips said.
Party Downtown will also have a full bar with local beer, wine and spirits. The co-restaurants hope to open in the late spring.