Since Mega Ajroja opened Main Street Café in downtown Maquoketa in 2003, he has admired the location and business of Flapjacks Family Restaurant near Highway 61.
“That place has a great location,” he said. “It had a great business and was in the best location in the area.”
Flapjacks closed in April after more than 35 years in business, and Ajroja has now bought the Flapjacks property.
Customers eager for waffles at 101 McKinsey Drive will have to wait a little while. Ajroja hopes to open in the spring after installing new equipment and re-decorating Maquoketa’s long-time “landmark” family restaurant.
Eager diners can weigh in on what the new restaurant should be named. Main Street Café won’t quite work when it’s not on Main Street.
A jar at the Café already has lots of suggestions for new monikers.
As for the Main Street location, Ajroja doesn’t yet know what will happen with the property, although he’s determined that it won’t be an empty storefront.
Ajroja owns the Main Street building, which could continue to function or become another restaurant, café or coffee shop.
Whatever happens on Main Street, it won’t be the same restaurant as his new highway location, which may include more diner options and dinner entrees such as steaks. Main Street customer favorites will be available at the new location, Ajroja said.
“Everyone asks if we’ll keep our chicken strips,” Ajroja said.
He also wants to maintain Flapjacks popular salad bar. With more space in the front and the back of the building, he’s excited about expanding options.
“We want to keep the best things from there and keep the best things from here,” he said.
A “Help Wanted” sign in Main Street’s window reminds customers that Ajroja will soon need many more staff members. Tentatively, the Flapjacks’ location will mirror Main Street’s hours, at least in the beginning.
Born in Macedonia, Ajroja grew up in Switzerland and went to culinary school in Europe. “Then I had to learn how to cook in the States, in the ‘90s,” he said.
Ajroja worked in restaurants in Chicago and the Quad Cities before buying into Jackson County.
He praised the community that has been coming to eat his food for the past 17 years. “We’re doing great,” he said.
With quick access to the interstate and plenty of parking, he’s betting they can do even better.