Once-popular Niles restaurant apparently not ‘opening soon’

Published 5:12 am Wednesday, October 3, 2007

By By ERIKA PICKLES / Niles Daily Star
NILES -Signs on the windows of the now-closed Riverfront Cafe claim the restaurant is "opening soon" and also "hiring for all positions."
What's also noticeable is the fact that the chains have been taken off the doors and lights are often seen on inside the restaurant.
While this may be a good sign for anyone who enjoyed the once-popular Main Street restaurant, it's still unclear if in fact Riverfront Cafe will open anytime soon.
According to an attorney involved in the case, opening soon isn't likely.
"There are no new developments and I don't have any answers as to why the signs were put on the window," said Carol Montavon Bealor, a Niles attorney who represents one of the restaurant's owners, Tom Watson of Niles.
Riverfront Cafe was closed on Aug. 17 after Berrien County Judge Lynda Tolen ordered the property seized and given to the FNB Community Bank of Three Rivers as a result of non-payment of a loan.
Watson, who is listed as one of the loan's guarantors, purchased the promissory note from the bank on Aug. 21 in the amount of $498,838, his attorney said.
Ownership of the note was changed from the bank to Watson's Tree Service, Watson's business, said a representative of Watson's at a brief Berrien County court hearing on Monday in St. Joseph.
Other owners of the business are Watson's estranged wife, Tammy, and Gerri Klinck. Once long-time friends, Tammy Watson and Klinck opened the cafe together in 2003.
Watson has not returned repeated telephone messages left him. Attempts to reach Tammy Watson, were also unsuccessful.
And her attorney, Shawn Ryan of South Bend, Ind., did not return phone calls seeking information.
Just before the cafe's loan went into default, the restaurant underwent some changes, including adding Abigail's Attic, a retail outlet, in the upstairs portion of the building, as well as new menu items. Such was short-lived.
"As of right now we are trying to reach an agreement between all parties. It's too premature for anyone to say anything because no agreement has been made. When you have different parties involved as well as other lawyers, it can take some time," Bealor said. Calli Berg, MEDA President Ray De Winkle