By Cathy Wharton
For Hometown News
As the revitalization of downtown Daytona Beach continues, a number of new shops and new ideas have been slowly filling up the once empty storefronts.
The hub of the downtown district consists of Beach Street, a north-south street that parallels the beautiful and scenic Riverfront Park, and the main east-west streets -- Orange, Magnolia, International Speedway Boulevard and Bay. For more than 100 years, the shopping district has been a center of commerce in Daytona.
One of the oldest enterprises in the downtown area, Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory, is still in operation after 88 years. The business eventually moved farther up Beach Street from its original location, later opening a cafe next door. Not long ago, however, the cafe part of the business was sold.
In mid-December, Angell & Phelps Cafe once again changed hands. The new owner, Dale Kissell, renamed the quaint cafe Premo's Grille. But it would require a lot of work before the restaurant could open for business.
The revamping marathon began Dec. 28 and concluded on Dec. 31. Mr. Kissell and his crew -- including his partner, Nancy Connell -- worked throughout that entire weekend cleaning, installing equipment, reorganizing and prepping so Premo's would be open for New Year's Eve.
"There's a bit of romanticism to this," Mr. Kissell said. "This is our anniversary date -- New Year's Eve. You've got to celebrate our accomplishment."
Mr. Kissell is no stranger to hard work. Eight years of experience in the food service industry is something that would stay with him, and in time bring him to where he is today. He worked in construction. After serving in the military, he attended college, with an eye toward a law career.
In 2010, Mr. Kissell vacationed in Daytona Beach. He liked the area so much that he came back again -- four times in all. During that time, he was driving an 18-wheeler from coast to coast and around the country. Finally he decided that Daytona is where he wanted to be. In September, he came here to stay. Soon after, he found an opportunity to open his own business -- a cafe on Beach Street.
"We want to be successful and to be a part of Daytona Beach," Mr. Kissell said. "Our focus is to make things interesting, fresh and affordable."
While affordability and quality of food are top priorities at Premo's, Mr. Kissell also acknowledged there is some building to do within the community. "We're here for the residents of Daytona Beach. They are the ones who will be here (for us) 365 days a year," he said.
The interior of the cafe remains much as before: Cozy two-seaters and comfortable four-tops well-spaced throughout, and a sizable bar to one side of the dining area. Along the paneled and brick walls of the cafe is a large collection of watercolors and prints, each depicting a nostalgic or historic scene of Old Daytona. Among the artful display is the Bandshell in the 1920s, Ormond Beach Yacht Club in 1910 and a super-sized print of the North Turn of the beach-road races in 1955. There are many others, of course, including beach scenes and early downtown Daytona.
But there's more to Premo's than just the relaxing atmosphere. A quick look at the menu reflects an American Cuisine that includes an array of tempting delights. All menu items are available at any time -- lunch or dinner.
Premo's also offers a generous list of libations. The wine selection includes five house wines and several premium wines.
Coming from upstate New York, Mr. Kissell will soon be featuring wines from the Finger Lakes region of that state -- an often unsung part of the country that produces excellent wine.
Also in the works is a bar menu, which will be offered during Happy Hour.
Though live music is not as yet in place, Mr. Kissell anticipates that at some point there will be entertainment. As a singer and musician himself, Mr. Kissell said he "appreciates good live music." "It's on the agenda," he said.
Premo's Grille is at 156 S. Beach Street, Daytona Beach. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Happy Hour is 4 to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday and all day Saturday. Phone: (386) 257-2677.