Siler City resident returns to open business

Posted 10/4/19

SILER CITY — Courtney Machowicz graduated from Jordan-Mathews High School 16 years ago before leaving for college and life with her military husband.

Now she’s back, and in business. She’s …

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Siler City resident returns to open business

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Posted

SILER CITY — Courtney Machowicz graduated from Jordan-Mathews High School 16 years ago before leaving for college and life with her military husband.

Now she’s back, and in business. She’s opened The Whiskey Barrel Cafe on W. Raleigh Street in downtown Siler City in the same location that several restaurants — including Hometown Grill and Artisan Hub — have stood before.

“These are my roots,” Machowicz said.

After graduating with a master’s degree in business from Southern New Hampshire University, Machowicz and her husband moved to California, where he is still stationed. For four years she struggled to find a job to no avail.

“I thought maybe I could find a good career, but I kept getting rejections,” she said. “Sitting at home for years is daunting on someone who has worked since they were 16. It was devastating. I worked so hard to get a degree and I wanted something to be proud of.”

When Artisan Hub went up for sale, she heard from an old friend, Josh Milholen of Basic Machinery, which is also located in Siler City.

“Jokingly, he said ‘Hey, you want to buy a restaurant?,’” she said. “Joke’s on him because here we are.”

And Machowicz is all in.

“Failure is not an option,” she said. “I want to be able to succeed and say I did something good.”

The Whiskey Barrel Cafe’s fare includes breakfast, lunch and dinner options. The menu includes classic options including sausage gravy in the morning, hamburgers and salads throughout the day, with vegetarian options as well. And Machowicz hopes to add unique, nightly dinners to the menu.

“We want to be able to stand out,” Machowicz said. “We are working on themed dinners and brunch specials...like Taco Tuesdays. Things like that are in development.”

Machowicz said she opened the restaurant because she knew there was “something Siler City needed which is something different for dinner” and “bring in things we don’t necessarily have in the local Siler City area.” She also said she wanted to “employ people here and bring life to downtown.”

“I have high hopes for this restaurant,” Machowicz said. “I want to be able to build on what we have an create a legacy.”

Casey Mann can be reached at CaseyMann@Chathamnr.com.

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