Kim Fornash fills an order for 20 milk shakes at Hinkle’s Restaurant on Thursday. Fornash, who has worked at the restaurant for about six years, says she has not noticed a decrease in business since King’s Daughters’ Hospital moved to the hilltop. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie)<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
Kim Fornash fills an order for 20 milk shakes at Hinkle’s Restaurant on Thursday. Fornash, who has worked at the restaurant for about six years, says she has not noticed a decrease in business since King’s Daughters’ Hospital moved to the hilltop. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie)

kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
Many downtown restaurants report only a slight drop in business since King's Daughters' Hospital moved to its new hilltop location last month.

KDH was the largest downtown employer, and many employees walked the short distance to downtown restaurants.

Rose Conway, manager at Hinkle's Sandwich Shop, said business hasn't changed at all since the hospital closed. The only difference, she said, might be the patronage of expectant fathers that used to stop by while waiting on a new son or daughter to arrive.

"We're still getting a lot of staff," Conway said. "One thing I have noticed is people still come in with their name badges."

The restaurant also had an increase of carry-out orders.

Other restaurant employees agreed. Restaurants on Main Street continue to have a steady stream of patrons throughout the day.

Subway's assistant manager Michael Clark said most of the store's patrons didn't come from the hospital anyway. A lot of customers are Courthouse employees and downtown residents, he said.

A server at Madison Coffee & Tea said business was down at that shop.

Terri Smithey from the Downtowner said business seems to be the same as any other winter in Madison.

"During the wintertime, you think it's going to be slow and it's not," she said.

While the winter does put a damper on tourism traffic to the city, local downtown residents still frequent the restaurants for their favorite meals.

Some restaurants reported an increase in the number of carry-out orders. "We still get orders for carry-out," Smithey said. "Plus we have delivered up to the hilltop (hospital)."

Business hasn't really ever slowed down since the Gallery 115 Cafe opened nearly a year ago, Peggy Phagan said. Neither the winter temperatures nor the hospital's move kept patrons from stopping by items from the daily menu.

"They're still coming in," she said of patrons.