Restaurant Challenge Sparking Downtown Development

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A "Mex-aribbean" restaurant concept has won the Evansville Main Course Restaurant Challenge. Cantina del Oscar will be supported by a nearly $300,000 privately-funded prize package and be located in a former jewelry store in the city's downtown. Southwest Indiana Chamber Downtown Alliance Director Joshua Armstrong says the competition was designed to spark interest and development in downtown Evansville near the planned convention hotel. He says multiple other contest participants have expressed interest in moving forward with their plans. November 24, 2014

News Release

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (November 22, 2014) - The Southwest Indiana Chamber today announced the winner of the Evansville Main Course Restaurant Challenge, an economic development contest designed to stimulate growth in downtown Evansville with the addition of a new dining option. Cantina del Oscar, presented by Oscar Velez, was chosen following a cook-off at the Southern Indiana Career and Technical Center.

The winning concept, which will receive a privately-funded prize package valued at more than $280,000, is a 'Mex-aribbean' concept, with Mexican and Caribbean influenced lunch, dinner and cocktails, according to Southwest Indiana Chamber Downtown Alliance Director Joshua Armstrong. "Cantina del Oscar looks to provide another unique and fun dining and nightlife option in downtown Evansville."

Evansville's Main Course Restaurant Challenge calls for the new eatery to be open for business no later than Sept. 1, 2015 inside a now-vacant building located at 330 Main Street. The privately-funded prize package includes both cash and in-kind contributions from local and national companies and organizations, including The Gene Warren Jr. Family, Old National Bank, Hafer Associates, South Central Digital, Nexstar Broadcasting Group, Inc., Tucker Publishing Group, Skanska, Evansville Courier and Press, Vectren Energy Delivery, Gordon's Food Service, Tri-State Orthopaedics, Accuride, Bourbon Blog, Leadership Evansville, Kahn Dees Donovan & Kahn and Berry Plastics. Additional grants for fa?ade improvements have been provided by the City of Evansville Department of Metropolitan Development and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs.

The Southwest Indiana Chamber announced the competition in July of this year. Submissions were accepted until October 15; fourteen parties submitted proposals. Five applicants were offered the opportunity to continue, three chose to continue through the cook-off: Canitina del Oscar, Kenny’s Korner and The Speakeasy.

About Southwest Indiana Chamber

For nearly a century, the Southwest Indiana Chamber has been a trusted ally of the regional business community. Today, we're one of the state's largest, strongest, and most impactful nonprofit business organizations, representing a total membership of nearly 1,700 businesses, organizations, and agencies. About one-third of members have invested in our organization for 10 or more years. While nearly all major employers in our region are members of the Southwest Indiana Chamber, 71 percent of our members have fewer than 25 employees.

Learn more about the Chamber, our members, and the Southwest Indiana regional community at www.swinchamber.com.

Source: The Southwest Indiana Chamber