One of the reasons Baja Bean Co. came close to losing its prime Fan location last fall was the dilapidated condition of its outdoor patio and bar area.
Now, with a new lease secured and with fair weather approaching, the rejuvenation of Baja’s patio is well underway.
“We’re hoping for it to be open for St. Patty’s Day,” owner Ron Morse said. “That’s always kind of what we shoot for to open things up outside. But at this point, that doesn’t look likely.”
Morse and his landlord, former city councilman and local attorney John Conrad, are working with the city’s committee of architectural review on the designs for the refreshed patio. Pavers and wood framing have been approved and are being constructed.
The outdoor bar, a feature that sets Baja apart from other Fan nightspots, has yet to be given the green light by the architecture committee.
“It will be approved,” Morse said. “They just want to make sure it’s done right.”
Baja is in the basement of the Stonewall Jackson Professional Center, which in the late 19th century was Stonewall Jackson Elementary School. In September, Conrad told Baja Bean that its lease, which was set to expire this year, was not going to be renewed.
A letter-writing and social media campaign ensued, and Conrad eventually relented. In November, Baja was given a reprieve, renewing its lease through 2016.
Morse is also working on a new concept at the old Mulligan’s space a few blocks east on Main Street.
He said he is spending about $150,000 on renovations will soon select a contractor for the work, but he would not reveal details about the new restaurant.
Why does a patio need to go through CAR? It’s not connected to the historic building and it sounds like a waste of bureaucratic resources that could be focused towards more significant projects.
Can’t wait for this to open up though.
Looks great, they should have done this years ago.