ELKINS - A local landmark is undergoing a facelift, and the new look should be revealed in April.
Renovations to the 1863 Restaurant and the Isaac Jackson Hotel, on Harrison Avenue, began in January and include changing the interior of the restaurant, making room for additional dining space and adding another structure to the hotel.
The multi-million dollar renovation is the first for the business in 25 years. Meggan Sexton, marketing and operations manager for the 1863 Restaurant and Isaac Jackson Hotel, said the project is on schedule and she and the owners are excited for the renovations.
The 1863 Restaurant and Isaac Jackson Hotel in Elkins is undergoing renovations. New windows have recently been installed in the restaurant.
"We are not pulling any punches," she said. "We want everything to be the best it can be."
The 1863 Restaurant will remain closed through the renovation process, although the Isaac Jackson Hotel is currently open for business.
"One of the things we wanted to focus on was ensuring that the restaurant was family friendly," Sexton said. "We also wanted to keep up the reputation of the 1863 as a 'special occasion' venue, while also encouraging folks to see it as an everyday restaurant as well."
Sexton said the emphasis is going to be more on a casual dining experience that is perfect for birthdays and anniversaries, or just a dinner with friends and family.
"We are calling the restaurant's atmosphere 'up-scale casual,'" Sexton explained. "We don't want people to feel out of place in jeans and a t-shirt. But we want it to be a special place as well."
The menu will include many favorite items from the restaurant, including steak, shrimp and the restaurant's famous cinnamon rolls, as well as new items like slow-cooked Kansas City barbecue.
Sexton said the bar area will be removed to better fit the non-alcohol, family-friendly environment, stressing the project is not only a physical overhaul, but will also create a change in the personality of the venue.
Other renovations for the restaurant include reframing the walls, installing new flooring and opening up more seating space for groups, as well as the addition of a 3,000-square foot conference and banquet space equipped with a secondary kitchen. Sexton said the new space would be an ideal location for wedding receptions, class reunions and other formal gatherings.
The Isaac Jackson Hotel, which currently offers 22 rooms available for guests, will gain 38 new rooms, including suites in the new structure. An outdoor lobby and patio space are also being added.
Sexton said the new structure allows the hotel to serve a larger volume of guests and will, along with the new look of the restaurant, improve the overall experience of their visit.
"We are very excited," Sexton said. "We are confident that people will like the look of the place when it's completed."
A grand opening celebration is being planned but no date has yet been set.
The 1863 Restaurant opened its doors in 1950. In May of 2013, the restaurant and adjoining motel rooms were purchased by Kenny and Beverly Sexton, Jim and Elaine Douglas and Lloyd and Sharon Teter.
Kenny Sexton is also the owner of the American Mountain Theatre, a major tourist attraction in Elkins. Sexton has said that part of his motivation for buying the hotel was because hotel rooms in Elkins were too difficult to obtain.
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