Welton Street Café receives historic preservation grant

Grant will cover expenses related to exterior buildout of new space

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Denver’s Welton Street Café is one of two Colorado recipients of a Backing Historic Small Restaurants Grant Program, which is a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a nonprofit that was founded about 70 years ago to save historic places across America. Its Backing Historic Small Restaurants Grant Program started in 2021 as a way to provide aid to small, historic restaurants facing challenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2022 focus was on “independent small restaurants that have been in business for at least 25 years and operate in historic buildings or neighborhoods,” according to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s website.

Twenty-five restaurants across the U.S. received the 2022 grant. Each of them received $40,000 “to improve, upgrade and preserve their exterior physical spaces and online operations,” states the website.

The Golden Burro Café in Leadville is the other Colorado recipient of the grant.

Welton Street Café is a staple in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood, known for its soul food. Family owned and operated, it got its start in 1986 and in July 1999, moved to a permanent location at 2736 Welton St. However, it closed that location when its lease expired earlier this year and has been operating as a take-out establishment from a temporary location at 2258 California St.

Welton Street Café secured a new location at 2883 Welton St. but it needs to be built out. This includes construction inside and out, and purchasing equipment, furniture and other supplies needed to reopen, said Chereka Dickerson, Welton Street Café’s communications manager.

The Backing Historic Small Restaurants Grant “is integral in alleviating costs associated with the buildout,” Dickerson said. However, “since this grant can only be used on exterior construction, (it) will provide us funding for exterior signage, assist with construction of the patio, especially the patio doors, and adding an additional door for takeout orders.”

In January, Welton Street Café launched a Go Fund Me fundraiser to assist with the move and buildout of the new space. As of Aug. 8, $107,707 had been raised of the $250,000 goal. It remains active, so people are still able to donate.

Dickerson said although there is not an estimated timeframe for opening the new location just yet, the hope is to open by the beginning of year.

“Construction on the interior and exterior will take a solid four months once we break ground,” Dickerson said. “Once we break ground, we are optimistic that we will be able to reopen in a timely manner so that we can continue to serve in the community, and so that all of our customers and supporters can enjoy the beauty and vibe of our new space.”

Welton Street Cafe, Denver, National Trust for Historic Preservation

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