Main Street Bistro, a Princeton fixture for drinks and casual fare at the Princeton Shopping Center for more than 25 years, is being closed down for good by its new owner, Fenwick Hospitality Group.
Fenwick, the farm-focused company that owns Agricola, the Great Road Farm and the Dinky
Bar & Kitchen, purchased the Main Street Restaurant Group in April of 2016. Jim Nawn, the owner of the Fenwick Hospitality Group, is the former owner and operator of 37 Panera Bread franchises in New Jersey.
The Main Street Cafe in Kingston was closed in November and is now a PJ’s Pancake House. Nawn said the term for Main Street Bistro’s lease at the shopping center in Princeton will be up soon, and he decided not to renew.
“I was a customer and a fan of the bistro long before we purchased it,” Nawn said. “However, despite attempts to upgrade many aspects of the experience there – the menu, the energy, the well-worn space – we did not see an impact on guest counts and became less optimistic that it would attract new customers…Sadly we decided to close.”
The restaurant, known for its relaxed atmosphere, reasonable prices and happy hour specials in a town with lots of expensive dining establishments, will close in the fall, as will the outdoor Clocktower Cabana Bar. The catering arm of the business will continue. There is a plan to retain staff by placing them in the group’s other restaurants, representatives for the company said.
A representative for Fenwick would not confirm that Main Street’s liquor license will be transferred to the company’s new restaurant planned for 277 Witherspoon Street, Two Sevens. The 5,000-square-foot restaurant will be located in the former medical professional building next to the AvalonBay apartment complex.
“In Two Sevens, we are looking to create an engaging social space where everyone is welcome,” Nawn said. “We will continue to use farm fresh ingredients from our certified organic farm,
Great Road Farm, combined with flavors from Central and South America. We are paying
attention to affordability and seeking to make our menu scalable to a full meal or snack with a
drink to meet guest wishes throughout the day.”
Cargot brasserie, the restaurant group’s second restaurant at the historic former Dinky train station, will open in early July next to the Dinky Bar & Kitchen. The restaurant will serve “French-inspired” breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch and grab-and-go items. The space will feature 130 indoor seats, including private dining rooms and an outdoor patio that can seat 60 people.