"It seems like every time we open a wall or a floor, we get a new surprise," said Ace Cafe Orlando chief marketing officer Steve Glum of the company's restoration of the Harry P. Leu site in downtown Orlando.
Personality and history were the reasons behind Ace Cafe's choice of location. Exposed brick walls, open ceilings and tile floors topped the wish list. But as with everything, you need to be careful what you wish for.
The original plan was to restore all of the existing buildings but the third structure at the far end of the site could not be saved.
"We saved as much of the ceiling gears, metal work, corrugated roof and sides, and any heavy timber as we could," Glum told Orlando Business Journal. He estimated that about half of the structure was salvageable.
Restoration efforts were more successful on the two adjoining buildings toward the Livingston Street side — future sites of Ace Cafe Orlando's restaurant and retail spaces. Sugar pine tongue-and-groove flooring and metal work are among the finds that will make their way into the Ace grand plan.
"We will reuse these materials for features like tables, bar railings and wherever we can," Glum told OBJ. "We also are restoring all the Terrazzo floors that are on the main floor of the brick building, which surprisingly shined up very nicely after all these years."
Replacing the roof has unveiled its own set of hurdles as decades old patchwork is being removed. The addition that joins the remaining buildings — which were originally separate structures — must also be reworked for a better fit and a level roof.
About 250 new jobs will be created by the restaurants, shops and other tenants. A total of three yet-to-be-announced, motor-centric tenants will occupy the retail spaces along with Ace's own shop and a second-floor art gallery.
Ace Cafe announced earlier this year that Oklahoma Joe's BBQ will also occupy a spot on the site. And there are about 250 special event requests already on Ace Cafe Orlando's evolving calendar.
Construction Photos Below:
The World’s Most Famous Cafe Comes To Orlando
Ace Cafe is simply the most famous motor-diner on the planet! Since 1938, Ace Cafe London has been the gathering place for folks passionate about bikes, cars, & rock 'n' roll. A rallying point for good times, good people, good food, and good motors, Ace Cafe Orlando will be a 3-acre restaurant, bar, events space, & live music venue all at once, and is targeted to open in late 2016.
This motor-centric restaurant & retail destination has been devised, designed and built by fellow petrolheads, and also includes Oklahoma Joe's BBQ, Rockers Speed Shop, Dainese D-Store, Magic City Cycles (BMW/Ducati/Triumph dealership), and Stonebridge MotorGallery.
More than a restaurant, it's a community of people — enthusiasts, builders, racers, riders, drivers & music lovers from all over the world. All are welcome at The Ace! Ace Cafe Orlando is just 20 minutes from the Orlando airport, just 45 minutes from Daytona Speedway “The World Center of Racing”, and just 45 minutes away from the World Famous Cocoa Beach. Bike meets, car shows, live music, great shopping, or just a great meal, remember one thing — There’s no place like Ace!