By Jamison Cocklin
The Lemon Grove, a popular downtown restaurant and bar, finalized plans Thursday for its new location at 110 W. Federal St., just two doors east of its current spot.
The plan, in the works since the spring, means The Lemon Grove will occupy what was once the Rosetta Stone Cafe and Lounge, closed in 2010.
Lemon Grove owner Jacob Harver said he expects the new location to open in late July or early August. This, however, will not affect regular business hours at the current location, he said.
“As the future of downtown Youngstown gets brighter and brighter, this new space really gives us the security we wanted to continue being a part of it all,” said Harver, who grew up in Youngstown and graduated from Youngstown State University.
The five-floor building initially will provide The Lemon Grove with 7,200 square feet on the ground floor. But Harver said the overall plan calls for having all five floors functioning, a process he says will come in phases.
After the bar and restaurant open on the ground floor, Harver said the focus will switch to opening the basement as a concert venue.
Harver was able to obtain the building for $400,000.
His current location will not be vacant for very long after the move. Plans, he said, are under way to bring another tenant into the space.
The Lemon Grove has been a gathering spot for artists, activists and others since it opened in August 2009. The success of the restaurant, with an atmosphere that reads part coffee house, part bar and part music hall all rolled into one, meant more space was needed.
“The big thing is more space,” Harver said. “Kudos to the people who work there now, because the dry-stock room at our new location is bigger than the kitchen at our current location.”
Harver estimated that the new location, which boasts a total of 31,000 square feet, will have 10 times more space than the current location.
Harver said renovations are ready to start at 110 W. Federal St. A group of local artists will work to create what Harver calls a “signature atmosphere.”
He estimated that total renovations on the bar and restaurant area will cost about $15,000. He added that more than $10,000 was raised online at kickstarter.com, where anyone can donate to a cause of their choosing.
From the bar area will come an “artistically rendered” statue that depicts a lemon tree made of wood and copper leaves. It will extend over patrons at the bar. On the vaulted ceiling, just above where the new dance floor will be, a painted mural will be completed.
“We don’t look at this as a competitive business,” Harver said in reflecting on his purchase and the future successes it may hold for The Lemon Grove. “It’s about a larger movement to help further the city we love. That’s what I wanted to do.”