Father-son team opens Downtown Niles Cafe

Published 6:30 am Monday, March 6, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

NILES — A new dining option has arrived in downtown Niles.

Downtown Niles Cafe opened its doors to hungry customers Monday morning at 226 E. Main St.

Co-owned by Brandywine graduate Paul Salinas and his step-father Juan Marquez, Downtown Niles Cafe – open from 6 to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 6 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday – will feature many breakfast, lunch and dinner staples customers are familiar with. 

Salinas, who is of Mexican and Chinese descent, plans on eventually expanding the menu and offering classic items with cultural twists. 

“We’re trying to be different, something new and refreshing for people,” he said. “We’re going to have the same breakfast staples like other places have but we’re also trying to incorporate new things that people don’t experience often. Things we grew up eating.”

With its downtown location and hours of operation, Salinas believes his restaurant will satisfy a variety of customers’ food cravings and work schedules.

“You have to drive all the way down to the other side of town if you want a place that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Selinas said. “We want to be open more than just a couple hours a day for your coffee… There are a lot of factories on this side of town with a lot of workers. The hospital is here and people are working third, first and second (shift). If they want to go out and eat, it’s either they packed a lunch or they have a quick bite to eat from one of the fast food chains. We want to be a little different and provide more variety, especially in this area.”

The dream of owning and operating a restaurant came to fruition weeks ago for Salinas and Marquez – who have more than two decades of combined experience in the restaurant industry – after speaking with Jose and Ana Mendez of El Amigo Pepe, who are family friends. After informing Marquez and Salinas of their intention to close El Amigo Pepe’s 226 E. Main St. location Feb. 25 and transition to their food truck business model, the Mendezes asked them if they were interested in the space. After agreeing to take the space, the duo spent the next few weeks preparing for opening day. 

Having carried out the roles and responsibilities that come with being father and son for years, Salinas and Marquez are looking forward to embarking on a new journey together as business partners.

“We both have a say in everything,” Salinas said. “We’re both partners and we’re both gonna communicate. Instead of always being my dad, I get to tell him my opinions and he’s going to tell me his opinions and we’re going to combine those opinions and come up with the best solution to whatever we plan on doing.”