When many restaurants decide to expand their businesses to new locations, they don’t often choose to do so in the same neighborhood as the original space, let alone on the same block. But on Nov. 7, the Iowa City Mexican restaurant Cactus did just that, opening Cactus 2 just a few doors down Burlington Street.
Anthony Wisely, employee of Cactus 2, says the expansion was prompted by complaints about long wait-times at the original location, especially on weekends, and he believes that the proximity of the new location will help alleviate this problem.
Originally, Wisely says that the owners wanted to just expand the dining room of Cactus to solve the problem, but none of the surrounding businesses were willing to sell their space.
“We weren’t sure what to do, and we knew we needed to do something quick,” Wisely said. “There was a vacant space available right in the same mall, so we just thought this would be the most convenient for our customers.”
Apart from no longer having to deal with long waits, Wisely says he thinks customers will appreciate that the employees of both Cactus and Cactus 2 will be able to provide a more efficient service to each individual customer that steps into either of the two restaurants.
“We wanted to be able to give the attention that each customer deserves when they sit down to eat,” Wisely said. “We weren’t able to do that before when it was so busy all the time.”
So far, Cactus 2 hasn’t been quite as in demand as Cactus, though Wisely says it’s because many residents are still unaware of the new location.
“It’s kind of just the waiting game now,” Wisely said. “But we know it will help our business in the long-run.”