By Cheryl Brown
The long awaited Downtown Supper Club, a premier dinning and entertainment experience, has opened in Downtown Riverside.
The Supper Club, located at the corner of 6th and Main, will bring the city one step closer to its planned downtown revitalization with another piece of the puzzle in place.
Frederick "Fred" Williams and William "Bill" Minor are the owners.
Fred hails from Los Angeles, CA where he grew up in Watts. He has been a state licensed contractor for nearly 20 years. He specializes in plumbing, landscaping, and home improvements. His partner Bill is from Long Island, New York and is a former longtime employee with Pac Bell telephone company. His business specializes in computer network systems. They have both lived in the Riverside area for about 15 years.
Bill and Fred came together as partners because they had been friends for quite a long time.
Fred says the idea for the supper club came from his life long dream. "When I was young my uncle played bass for Ike and Tina Turner." The seed was planted.
Later, after moving to the area, he met a man named Maximino Santos when he was fulfilling a landscaping contract. Max particularly caught his attention because of his tenacity. Max didn't have a car but he rode a bike to his dishwashing job everyday.
He worked like he was the boss and after much training he became a general manager with the CoCos franchise. " "One day I'm going to have my own place and you are going to be my General Manager," Fred told Max. That day has come and if you go to the new club you can meet the three gentlemen.
The owners have had many obstacles to overcome in the development of this enterprise. First, the location was in question because it was leased by the Mission Inn, who was using it for storage. The general manager eventually released the lease. Next, was more financing. Friends who belived in the business, loaned them money. That still wasn't enough to make the resturant viable, and after intense negotiations the city gave them a loan.
The last hurdle will be removed on January 10 when the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control should clear their license and they can open their bar.
The cuisine is cajun and seafood, the entertainment is jazz and blues with an occasional national act. The sky is the limit.
While visiting the Black Voice recently, songstylist Nancy Wilson was introduced to Fred and Bill, and toured the supper club.
She saw the promise the business held and gave some free advice that both men took advantage of. Her suggestions have made the club more exclusive and more people friendly. They hope the changes she suggested will bring her back.
"I just want to be successful," said Fred. If hard work, knowledge, and resourcefulness equal success then his wish should come true.
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