Ace Cafe Orlando (Website) just hosted their first hard-hat media tour, on Tuesday, March 28, of their soon-to-open 35,000 SF Downtown entertainment plaza.
The England-based company has been building their first American location on the 2.94 acre Harry P. Leu Supply Company site [GMap] since 2014, and was expected to be open in Spring 2015.
The historic building and campus caused a number hiccups in that development schedule, but according to Ace Cafe management, the motorcycle-inspired restaurant/retail complex should be open by the end of this April. Ace Cafe has recently held two separate job fairs where they’ve hired nearly 200 staff.
At the end of construction, there will be over 18,000 SF of retail and 14,000 SF of restaurant space. The first-phase will include flex event space, Stonebridge Motorgallery (an art gallery), a retail gift shop, an Italian Dainese D-Store, and a BMW motorcycle dealership.
The site of a former barn will become the home of the “Blue Cap Shack” which should seat upwards to 1,000 people. It will function as an outdoor event space and beer garden for an adjoining restaurant, Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ, which will be housed in a pre-fabricated building. This phase of the project is expected to open in July of this year.
Documents filed with the City in the beginning of the project also call for a motorcycle museum and repair shop.
Interesting tidbits that we gleaned from our tour include:
- Every table on campus will be made with recycled timber from the original interior of the Harry Leu building.
- Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam once hung from one of the beams that still hangs in the center of the main performance area.
- Ace Cafe is expecting 70-80 percent of their customer base to be local, versus from out-of-town.
- There is an old safe that hasn’t been opened for decades that the Ace Cafe team will be cracking in the near future.
- Harry P. Leu, of Leu Gardens fame, once owned the building. His office is still in tact and will be used as a meeting room.
- There are two kitchens on each floor of the main building.
- The parking will be controlled by daily themes. One day BMWs will be able to park closer to the entrance, on others Harleys, Indians, Audis, etc.
- The coffee will be provided by Viennese roaster, Julius Meinl.
- There is built-in amphitheater seating on the front of the main building that faces out towards the parking lot, for visitors to lounge and admire bikes and vehicles.
- Parking is free for Ace guests.
- The gallery space will feature art by Michael Lichter, David Uhl, Antonio Merinero, Makoto Endo, and curated local artists.