Northwestern students were thrown into a frenzy last semester when the Old Factory took a brief hiatus from slinging drinks in order to change locations. Now that school has started once again, students are welcoming the new Old Factory—or Town Square—into their lives.
Those familiar with the Old Factory fondly remember the old building, its quirks and its history. With the creaky wooden floors and the nearly constant draft, it cemented itself as a historic staple for many students. Town Square hopes to keep some of that charm that made students so fond of it, but with a few upgrades and additions.
“We tried our best to hold on to what made this place special while also wanting to move forward, so I think we’ve done a good job of merging the old with the new, which is exciting and that was a theme of the Old Factory in a lot of ways to,” said Caleb Witt, a former Old Factory and current Town Square employee. “It’s kind of a spiritual successor.”
For Ben Patzlaff, a NW student and longtime employee of Old Factory/Town Square, the new location right off Windmill Square brings new opportunities as well.
“Being downtown has attracted a different type of crowd. Anyone out and about can run into the shop, so lots of different faces have come in,” Patzlaff said. “We get to experience a different type of person than usual.”
In addition to the convenient new location and larger space, the size upgrade has also allowed Town Square to expand in some much-needed ways. With more seating options and extendedroom behind the counter, the space allows a greater flow of activity.
“I love our work space behind the bar and the kitchen. There’s so much more room, and I don’t have to bump into my coworkers all the time,” Witt said. “There’s something comforting in the larger space and having more people around.”
Town Square was also able to make additions to the menu, with a new liquor license and artisanal cheese platter, among other things.
Though changes abound, Town Square remains a cozy spot for students and community members alike .
“It’s still a place that wants to serve coffee and in that way create community and conversation between people, whether that’s friends catching up or people talking about different views,” Patzlaff said, echoing similar goals that Old Factory aimed for as well.
After the incredible turnout from RAGBRAI—the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa—at the end of the summer, Town Square hopes to offer regular and special events to bring more people out.
“We have a lot of potential plans for sure, and I don’t know where they are in the pipeline, but we definitely want to have consistent scheduled events, like concerts, trivia night—we had a stand up comedy night with Zach Wilson, one of our employees,” said Witt. “We want to open up to things like that. We want to continue to keep it open to anything, potentially, and with a bigger space, that’s way more possible.”
For the most avid or interested of fans, follow Town Square on social media for up-to-date information on all the goings-on in the new space.