MKT Train Depot development gives new opportunities to business owners

KWTX News 10 at 10P
Published: Jan. 29, 2023 at 7:18 PM CST
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BELTON, Texas (KWTX) - Crews are busy plugging away to put the final touches on transforming Belton’s MKT Train Depot into a new commercial space.

For business owners, the new development is giving some a second chance and others new opportunities.

Jay Williams and his wife Christi are getting ready to open the Railway Express Diner, a train-themed restaurant.

“Ending up in this building aligns with something that we’ve also said, which is let us take you back in time,” Williams said.

The couple own the WAT THE TRUCK food truck, but this will be their first full-service restaurant.

“We’re used to order pickups at the food truck,” Williams explained. “With this we’re having to set up seating.”

The new restaurant transforms a ticket booth into a kitchen and even has the original floors from when the depot was built in 1899.

At the front of the depot Andrew Johnson is on the fast track to turn a box car into the Warm Cookie Company.

“For an opportunity to arise like this to be in this amazing space with all these other businesses, it’s just so incredible,” he said.

Johnson hit the brakes and closed his original Temple cookie shop back in August.

“Our cost of goods skyrocketed, staffing just making sure we had enough staff in the store, it was hard,” he said.

He said this new location will allow him to focus on a more limited menu and operate with a smaller staff.

“It’s going to allow us to be more generous with our pricing structure and be able to provide an affordable and more fun experience,” Johnson said.

For both Johnson and Williams it’s full steam ahead as they work on nailing out the final bells and whistles.

“To be able to host a little bit differently as we make the next step in serving has been exciting and it’s something that we’ve really wanted,” Williams said.

The Railway Express Diner will open on Friday. Johnson said Warm Cookie Company should open sometime in February. The MKT Train Depot will also be home to a bookstore bar, a coffee shop and a Puerto Rican restaurant.