GEORGETOWN — An old Georgetown restaurant staple has reopened under new management.
Tammy and Chris Downing are the new proprietors of Rockin on Main, which is located on, yes, you guessed it, 300 N. Main St. The re-opened restaurant serves up a slimmed down menu of classic American grub, with burgers, sandwiches, and fries, as well as offering soft serve vanilla ice cream. They opened for business on the morning of Sunday, August 23.
Chocolate and vanilla and chocolate swirl were on the menu before the chocolate ice cream maker broke, and the cost to repair the machine came higher than expected.
“It always seems like the dairy bar was the thing that the town didn’t have,” Tammy Downing said.
Downing said she and her husband were approached more than a year ago by the building’s owner, Buddy Brandenburg. At the time, Rachel Hockaday owned the restaurant, and re-named it Jim’s Diner this past spring, but the restaurant didn’t stay open for long. Soon, Hockaday fell into legal trouble, and she now faces 10 charges of forgery in Brown County’s Municipal Court.
Last July, the Downings put some more thought into running a restaurant, and eventually decided to take up Brandenburg’s offer.
They, and many family members, renovated and cleaned the restaurant, and began the transition into a rock and roll type bar. Vinyl records and CDs adorn the wall, as do photos of rockers such as Elvis Presley. Downing is looking for 8-track tapes to put on the wall too.
There’s also a large boom box along the back wall, to go with a big screen TV.
“We came in and cleaned it all up, repainted the walls, and gave it a new look,” said Downing, who worked at the restaurant as a teenager. “We’re pretty excited.”
While putting together the menu, Downing and her husband quickly decided that they wanted to make their restaurant a “dairy bar,” and then started writing down what kind of meals are in the stereotypical dairy bar.
“We did go around and do some research,” Downing said. “When I worked here, they made foot-long coneys, and they had a burger called the chubby cheeseburger, and that’s where I got the idea for the Main Street burger. You need to put something with the name.”
The Main Street burger features a lettece sauce and is stacked with the standard condiments, while the Rockin on Main burger has hot pepper cheese added to it in addition to any other condiments the customer requests.
Downing hinted that this winter, Rockin on Main could be adding soups to the menu and a breakfast bar on the weekend.
“We’ve really been talking to (the community) to find out what they want,” Downing said, saying those suggesstions came from community feedback.
Despite them just being in their first week of work, the community support has been very impressive.
With only three employees, including both Downings, they were ill prepared to deal with the massive lunch crowd, which filled up every table in the restaurant on the third day of business.
“When they came in, it was just one right after the other,” Downing. “That kind of lets me know, maybe we need a fourth person (working). We did not expect it to go over this well. That was just exciting.”
For someone without a ton of experience in the restaurant business, Downing has an open mind and is thinking big when it comes to pleasing her customers and bringing in new business. She has ideas on how to use the awning adjacent to the restaurant for a summer cook-out, and she hopes with free wi-fi that the restaurant can be used as a meeting place for folks as well.
“We want it to be a fun place,” Downing said. “For you to come in, enjoy the atmosphere, and be comfortable.”