Members of the Van Buren City Council gave their approval Monday night for a downtown restaurant to apply for a private club permit.
The council voted 6-0 to allow Lonnie and Mindy London to petition the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control Division for the permit for The Vault 1905 Sports Grill at 624 Main St.
Lonnie London said the sports grill will be located in the former Citizens Bank & Trust Co. building at the corner of Seventh and Main Streets.
“We are very excited to bring more dining to downtown,” London said. “The Vault 1905 Sports Grill will offer pizza and appetizers and be operated by Guy and Patty Messersmith of Duncan, Okla., who plan to relocate to Van Buren.”
Council member Alan Swaim applauded the efforts of the Londons, who also own Firefly Boutique and Gifts, in leading the revitalization effort in historic downtown.
“The council is extremely grateful for what Lonnie and Mindy are doing,” Swaim said, “and I hope the council will approve their request to file for a private club permit.”
Swaim made the motion to approve the request with a second from council member Tyler Wood, who noted the council had set the precedent with Larry B’s Rhythm Room and Hazel’s Gourmet Chicken and Waffles, which opened earlier this year.
Jim Petty, David Moore, Mike Kneeland and Darral Sparkman also cast “yes” votes.
Lonnie London said he hopes to open the sports grill by football season, but “more realistically by the Super Bowl.”
The Londons purchased the 624 Main St. property from Elaine Robus, whose father operated the Palace Drug Store at the location. The building has six 7-foot by 7-foot windows, providing a panoramic view of the intersection at Seventh and Main streets.
“We are not the only ones who are doing things in downtown Van Buren,” London noted before Mayor Bob Freeman introduced Chad Parsley, the co-owner of Crazy Cajun-Mex at 700 Main St.
Parsley, originally from Fort Worth, Texas, hopes to have the restaurant ready for a soft opening within 30 to 60 days.
“My partner and I moved here to be a part of the revitalization of Main Street,” Parsley told the council. “We will offer gourmet-style made-from-scratch Mexican food as well as home-made desserts.”
Parsley also said he expects to return to the council to seek approval of an application for a private club permit.
The council also:
• Approved an ordinance to add recreational vehicle parks as conditional uses in certain zones.
• Voted to remove from the fixed asset inventory a 2005 Chevrolet Trailblazer and 2004 Chevrolet Impala sedan used by the police department and a 60-inch mower used by the parks and recreation department.
• Reappointed Cathy Gifford to the Historic District Commission and Andy Dibble and Jay White to the planning commission.