A new chapter in store for Old City Hall

Old City Hall on Monterey Street was propped up and repaired

Downtown’s grandest and most iconic landmark will come alive again with music, laughter and good food if the owners of Station 55 Bar & Grill seal the deal on a new lease with the city.

The Flemish-inspired 1905 building on the corner of Monterey and Sixth streets could open its doors in a matter of weeks according to Bobby Beaudet, who along with his wife, Fran, runs the popular firehouse-turned-restaurant and sports bar on Fifth Street.

If everything pans out, the former Lizarran Tapas Restaurant will have an identity homecoming as the “Old City Hall Restaurant.”

The building is still in escrow, but Beaudet anticipates signing the lease Nov. 5 and opening that same day or the next. He’s hopeful and still waiting for City Manager Tom Haglund to iron out the details.

“We’re very excited,” said Beaudet Friday. “We’re gonna be doing a lot – weddings and banquets and private parties and live music and everything.”

He anticipates getting his “public notice of application to sell alcoholic beverages” sign today.

The more “upscale” Old City Hall Restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. for lunch and dinner seven days a week. The menu is shaping up to offer a variety of dishes including seafood, chicken, steaks and burgers. The amazing gourmet red velvet cupcakes baked by the Beaudet’s daughter might also make an appearance, Bobby said. The delicious morsels are hot sellers at Station 55. 

The Beaudets previously operated two local restaurants in addition to Station 55. This includes Dutchman’s Pizza on First Street for 16 years and the former Krazy Koyote Bar & Grill for four years.

After closing his Spanish cuisine eatery Jan. 1 following a two-year run, downtown developer Gary Walton is happy to see the elegant, two-story edifice get a fresh start. Walton is selling all of Lizarran’s furniture and equipment to Beaudet.

“It’s good news for me; good news for downtown,” he said. “It’s good to see somebody else going in that’s gonna operate a restaurant there again – somebody that’s local. I think it’s good news for downtown.”

Walton, who co-owns Lizarran with his brother, Joe Walton, told the Dispatch in January that costly operating expenses and a gloomy economic outlook were major determinants in closing up shop.

Beaudet isn’t discussing any pending details surrounding the possible lease agreement with the city right now. City manager Tom Haglund was out of the office Friday.

Lizarran’s lease with the city would have expired June 30, 2013, with another option for a five-year renewal. After putting roughly $300,000 worth of renovations into the building, Joe said the Waltons received an improvement credit from the city for $27,000. The credit was spread out over a period of 18 months, lowering the Walton’s monthly rent to $2,045. Joe told the Dispatch in January that the building’s rent was scheduled to go back up to $3,400 as of June 30, 2013.

The monthly utilities bill in Old City Hall totaled $2,800 for the 8,000-square-foot building while Lizarran was in operation. 

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