Business owners with dreams of running a restaurant or store are contributing to the vibrancy of downtown San José. The trend also means that City employees who work downtown have more retail and restaurant choices. In fact, more than 20 have opened since the beginning of the year.

According to the Office of Economic Development, numerous new businesses are now filling vacant spaces. Since the spring, four businesses have opened in the block between 1st and 2nd Streets and San Fernando and Paseo de San Antonio.

Opened three weeks ago, Whispers Café and Creperie (150 S. 2nd Street) offers reasonably priced meals and brightly lit indoor and out door seating. A colorful wall-sized chalk menu lists breakfast, lunch, dinner, kid meals, dessert, and drink options. Manager Miguel Garcia said, “At first, I was a bit nervous opening in an urban environment. But the City was helpful in rearranging benches in the public plaza surrounding the restaurant to improve pedestrian flow and safety.”

With establishments like these popping up near City Hall, do some exploring around downtown. Take advantage of these interesting options. You will be pleasantly surprised.