By Terri Harber
Joshua DeCarl is pleased with the new bar as well as the seating area that converts to a stage inside his business, the Corner Brick Bar and Cafe.
The former Baker City Cafe, at the southeast corner of Main Street and Court Avenue in a space that exceeds 2,000 square feet, has expanded its evening offerings to provide customers a place to unwind over dinner and, perhaps, a cocktail or two.
The business reopened in April after a cold-weather closure that began in November. The respite allowed for DeCarl and his wife, Debbie Fisher, to upgrade the interior.
They wanted to make a fresh start of things when they reopened this year. The idea was to make sure potential customers knew there would be much more going on at night at the restaurant and bar.
"We changed it to be suitable for evening traffic," DeCarl said.
He wants to offer live entertainment - music, trivia, comedians, cowboy poetry and other acts that could perform on the stage now located in the front-right corner of the restaurant. The section does double duty with more seating during times when no one is putting on a show.
Downtown Baker City doesn't offer a great deal of live entertainment at night, he said.
"My goal is to have some special event going on every night this summer," DeCarl said.
On the menu, there are more appetizer selections than before. And this week marked the beginning of Happy Hours from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on weeknights.
The bar area is full-service, and not just offering wine and beer.
More grilled meats are on the dinner menu. The authentic Italian pastas continue being served. DeCarl highlighted the homemade sausages as another item customers should enjoy.
The hours have expanded as well. Though the business still will be closed on Sundays, its other days of operations will be a bit longer: Mondays through Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Once the Hells Canyon Motorcycle Rally begins today, DeCarl expects business to "double or even triple."
Motorcyclists and other visitors passing through bring a significant amount of business to the Main Street location. DeCarl himself rides and is heavily involved with the Motorcycle Rally.
He enjoys talking to motorcyclists and other travelers passing through who stop in to eat. Another conversation starter is the wall hangings at the restaurant, which include guitars he has collected.
Corner Brick still will be open for breakfast and lunch. Daytime offerings aren't much different from before, which means most of the same favorites for breakfast, lunch and snacks will be offered.
Tasty baked goods still are available. Fisher and the couple's daughter, Morgan Gilda, are baking the pies, cakes and cookies.
Fisher has cut back her time spent working at the restaurant because she has opened her own business on Resort Street, Debbie Does Upholstery.
Baker City provided a BIG DEAL grant, which is to help downtown businesses upgrade their buildings, of $500 for exterior painting. The restaurant now a deep brick red hue.
The new sign was hung late last month.
Exterior changes make the business look a little less daytime-oriented with the brick red paint and clean, round logo sign - another clue DeCarl is refocusing on nighttime offerings.
He and Fisher bought the restaurant in 2010 with others, but now are going at it alone. The building was constructed during the late 1800s and has housed other bars and restaurants during the years.