During the Samina City Council meeting. Last week, Jason Calhoun and LaRonda Banta gave their presentation to the council on their plan to transform the former 10,000-square-foot Theiss Furniture building on West Broadway into the “Eminence Cruise Night”-inspired 409 Bar & Grill.

“We’re not just trying to give you a bar,” said Banta, who is general manager of the proposed company. “We offer you a great restaurant and a great place to hang out and eat.”

The plan presented by Calhoun and Banta described the use of both sides of the building. One side is a restaurant and the other is an event space that includes plans for a bar.

“We will do a traditional steakhouse-style menu,” Banta said, adding that the menu plan also includes a soup and salad bar, a potato bar and lunch hours.

Banta cited her experience in the food service trade as an asset for running restaurants and bars.

“I have a lot of experience,” she said. “I know what works and what doesn’t.”

Banta also ate near the 409 Bar & Grill location of Puckett’s Family Restaurant, which is located near the intersection of North Main Street and West Broadway.

“There is enough room for all of us,” she said.

The presentation included details about the event side of the building that houses not only the bar but also a proposed venue for events ranging from country dancing classes to stand-up comedy acts. The event side is also planned to accommodate smokers with a separate, well-ventilated room that keeps the event venue and bar smoke-free but allows smokers to smoke without exiting the building.

The event aspect was planned by building four soundproof walls next to the restaurant. Live music, karaoke and DJs are also planned for the event side of the building. Other suggested uses include:

• The sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited on teen nights

• Receptions and party space rental

• Billiards tournaments

• Cornhole tournaments

• Digital arrows

• Bike nights

“We just want it to be a place where there’s something for everyone,” Banta said, adding that the events and bar side of the building are scheduled to close at 11 p.m.

Calhoun addressed the parking issue for 409 Bar & Grill. He told the council that he met with officials from the Baptist Church, who he said agreed to allow 409 Bar & Grill patrons to park in the spaces behind the 409 Bar & Grill building if Calhoun and Banta stripped the parking spaces and provided maintenance in the area when needed.

Calhoun also told the council that he expects work on the exterior of the building to begin soon.

“We hope to be able to finish the exterior of the building before winter comes,” he said.

Banta told the council the business is scheduled to open next year.

“October 1, 2024 is kind of our goal,” she said.

After Calhoun and Banta finished their presentation, His Eminence Mayor Fred Downey addressed them.

“I like the way it looks,” he said of the artistic rendering of the building’s exterior. “I know it’s going to be a long, hard road to get there.”

The City Council had previously considered the former Theiss Furniture building as a potential municipal building site before its decision to purchase the former temporary courthouse at the corner of East Broadway and South Penn Street instead.

Calhoun Transport, LLC purchased the former Theiss Furniture building this summer for $134,500.

Before the start of last week’s City Council meeting, Calhoun said he expected to start receiving estimates for the renovations. He also addressed the issue that the City Council had previously considered removing part of the building to provide additional parking.

“The architect advised not to cut part of the building,” he said.

“It gives us more room to do more inside.”

Calhoun said the inspiration for the name 409 stemmed from his experience as a car enthusiast and the Beach Boys song of the same name.

“It’s a big-block Chevy,” he said of his namesake bar and grill.

He also said that his participation in the Eminence Cruise Night events helped promote the modern, car-themed industrial design of the 409 Bar & Grill.

“We were doing the car cruise stuff, and that was something I had been talking about doing,” he said.

With a vision to transform the former furniture building, Calhoun and Banta also presented to the council their plan to ensure the organization remains safe for patrons. The building design includes a security system to continuously monitor the entire building. During large events, Calhoun and Banta plan to increase the presence of security personnel for the safety of customers.

409 Bar & Grill ownership also plans to maintain a zero-tolerance policy for harassment of customers and employees as well as any disorderly or inappropriate behavior.

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