New Riverfront Cafe opens to delight of customers, owners

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- After months of renovations, Riverfront Cafe in Niles has finally opened its doors to the public.
And, the public, if measured by the number of people who were at the cafe on Friday afternoon, already seems to have fallen in love with the city's new attraction.
Watson and Gerri Klinck, who own the brand new coffeehouse and gift shop, have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in the cafe, which has made the corner of Front and Sycamore into something of an eye-catcher.
But Watson, who with Klinck has spent more hours than they are capable of counting to open their business, is glad the renovation work is over.
Riverfront Cafe has around 30 employees, and serve healthy foods, such as salads, soups and sandwiches.
Being a coffee house, the products from their espresso machine are naturally an important part of what they have to offer their customers.
The cafe also serves fruit smoothies and malts.
When able to secure a liquor license from the State of Michigan, which Watson said seems near, the cafe will serve wine, imported beers and beer made by area micro breweries.
In addition to being a gift shop and coffee house, the cafe also has an art gallery, a grand piano that visitors who wish to play on can use, and a conference room with modern facilities that is available to people in the community and businesses.
Brian Williams is Riverfront Cafe's entertainment director and bar manager.
Already, he has several bands, mostly acoustic, lined up for the cafe this fall.
Williams said he couldn't be more thrilled about the opening and thinks the new cafe is a great asset to the city.
Linda Stahl and Vinny Goeman sat outside under one of the large umbrellas on the patio on Friday afternoon.
Currently living in Berrien Springs, the two think it's nice to have an outdoor place to visit close to where they live.
Having moved to the U.S five years ago from the City of Antwerpen in Belgium, where small cafes dot many street corners, Goeman thinks it's almost a little bit sad to be leaving the area.
Seated a little further away from the entrance to the cafe, was Helen Gorton and Ruby Filley.
Gorton, who has lived in Niles for 35 years, thinks the new cafe is lovely.
Having recently returned from a two-week trip to California, Gorton said Riverfront Cafe reminds her of the many cafe's in California.
She thinks Watson and Klinck, who have used mostly area contractors to do the renovation work, have managed to turn the corner of Front and Sycamore streets into a wonderful place.
Jairo and Hector Flores, and April Linsley, are students at Andrews University in Berrien Springs.
They usually get off early from class on Friday's and decided to pay Riverfront Cafe a visit after school.
Jairo, who lived in the State of Washington for 10 years, is used to places like Riverfront Cafe.
He frequently uses cafes as a place to study, and was perhaps a little disappointed when he first arrived to this area and realized there were few such places here.
Watson hopes people are patient in the first few days and weeks, until the employees adjust to their new working place and their tasks.
Seeing all the people who have dropped by the new cafe, Watson feels good. "It feels wonderful. It's nice to see people in the building now," she said.

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