BY JIM VENTURINI
How far will you drive for a good restaurant? Beyond good. One that is unique, one that makes a burger like nowhere else, or their fusion of Mexican and Asian cuisine is like nothing you’ve ever had before. Certain restaurants with different and unique menu selections are worth the drive and they become the final destination.
Imagine having dozens of different restaurants like that in Downtown Racine. I envision Downtown Racine as a “foodie” destination. We have a great start where you can enjoy tapas, hibachi-style Japanese cuisine, Italian, Korean specialties, Irish fare, world famous burgers and many breakfast options. With our unique pubs such as Dewey’s, Toad Hall, The Nash, Ivanhoe and Booster’s Buoy, eclectic selections like Out of the Pan and soon-to-be Local, ethnic restaurants like Salute, Asiana, Shogun, Sticky Rice, Olde Madrid and our specialties like Butcher & Barrel and Reefpoint Brew House. There are many more and we can’t list them all, so please visit the Downtown Racine Corporation website at racinedowntown.com, and you’ll see we are quickly becoming a destination for someone who is thinking of going out for dinner.
With the constant development of our downtown area we are seeing a renewed excitement, partly because of Foxconn but also due to the simple fact we have a walkable downtown along a beautiful lakefront with an unbelievable marina. We are a few restaurants and a few microbreweries away from being a destination so when people are thinking about grabbing a bite to eat they won’t say let’s go to (insert restaurant name here) but they’ll say let’s go Downtown Racine for dinner tonight where we can walk the downtown the streets, enjoy the shops, listen to some music and then choose from one of the many unique and awesome restaurants. With a “foodie” reputation I believe we will become a tourist destination, we will be the place to go to enjoy foods that in the past you had to drive to Milwaukee or Chicago but instead they will be right here in our very own downtown.
If you browse the Internet you will see that foodie destinations are all the rage in regards to tourism. There’s a Facebook page called Foodie Destinations 2018 where regions and communities in Ireland are battling in out to be named Ireland’s top foodie experience. Travel and Leisure has The Foodies Travel Bucket List! I want to see Racine become Southeastern Wisconsin’s foodie destination! I think we can be on people’s bucket list! What better staycation than to plan an extended weekend trip to downtown Racine where you settle into your Airbnb along Main Street, visit our beach, lighthouse and zoo, walk along the lakefront and marinas, have a microbrew or two and everyday choose from one of our unique and tantalizing restaurant menus. Selections that you just can’t find anywhere else and are definitely worth the drive.
Jim Venturini is the chairman of Downtown Racine Corporation’s Board of Directors.