New Broadway restaurant hopes to break mold in downtown area
By Ken Jackson
David Morales’ new business at the corner of Broadway and East Darlington Avenue finally is starting to look like the finished product — a bar and restaurant that, as, he sees it, will break the mold of the downtown Kissimmee scene.
News-Gazette Photo/Andrew Sullivan
Local entrepreneur David Morales has big plans for downtown Kissimmee, including his soon-to-open Hatfield’s, which will feature upscale dining, a full liquor bar and seating outdoors along Darlington Avenue.
After 15 months of renovating, updating and painstaking worrying, Morales can see the finish line of the project, as Hatfield’s is scheduled to open sometime in June.
Throwing around terms like “upscale,” “retro” and “art deco,” Morales hopes his new establishment can do for the western end of the downtown Broadway corridor what City Centre did for the
“Let’s face it, this side of downtown needs a lift,” said Morales, who runs Kissimmee Jewelers on Broadway and owns the building it sits in, just east of the new restaurant. “I like the location because of the two parking lots behind the building, and with Toho Square we have some space.”
Speaking of space, Hatfield’s intends to utilize the sidewalk next to it on Darlington with outdoor seating and a seven-foot awning to cover it. A pass-through window has been installed so food and drink orders can be run to the outside tables without a server having to go back inside.
Morales, who has been a downtown business owner for six years, said the restaurant’s vertical sign will replace the old florist sign currently on the building and show off its logo. He’s hoping to be able to take advantage of grandfather clauses in the downtown code to add some neon to the sign to shine like a beacon and give off a vibe straight from the 1950’s.
And if all of that wasn’t unique enough, Morales said he plans to eventually keep Hatfield’s open until 2 a.m. throughout the week.
“I wanted to create something different,” he said. “By like 9 o’clock, the other places and kitchens around here are closed.”
People who walk Broadway already have taken notice of the church-like ceiling art in the front foyer, clouding their ideas of what would be going in that space as construction went on. Art gallery? Church? Another antique store? A restaurant and bar with full liquor wouldn’t have been one of the
And during the building and renovating process that’s taken over a year, Morales said he questioned his motivation at times. The floor was dug up to inspect the plumbing. Original windows were covered over by prior tenants with brick and cement, and Morales restored the windows with help from a Downtown Community Redevelopment Agency grant, but the application process slowed his progress, along with obtaining other permits he needed from the city.
The old Citizen’s Bank building, built prior to 1900, was not built with the electricity load of a restaurant in mind, requiring new transmission panels to be installed.
With the biggest headaches reportedly behind him — “I could get the new floors down and have everything ready in a couple weeks if I wanted to,” he said — he can focus on more appealing things, like the menu.
Morales mentioned serving high-end steaks, gourmet pizzas and a hamburger that is boiled rather than grilled. Big-screen TVs will surround the restaurant, including two 92-inch behemoths behind the bar, and sports memorabilia will adorn the walls
Morales said he plans to employ about 20 people who will all help cater to a certain crowd — “the everybody crowd.”
“During the afternoon it’s going to be pretty laid back,” he said. “By about 6 o’clock, we’re going to have the wait staff in different costumes, which we spent a couple thousand dollars on, and we’ll do different themes for different nights.
“We’re going for a niche different than anything else currently downtown.”