The People's Tribune

Former Bowling Green Restaurant Is Getting A New Purpose

Bill Allen Plans To Open ‘54 Banquet Hall’ By June

The building that has served as a restaurant for the past few decades will have a new function as a banquet/reception center under the ownership of Bill Allen.

Fire claimed J&J’s Roadhouse (formerly Crystal’s Restaurant) on Business Highway 54 in August last year. The blaze destroyed most of the kitchen area and there was smoke and water damage throughout. The future of the building seemed uncertain.

Allen purchased the facility in February and began clearing out the damage. It will be called 54 Banquet Hall and he plans to open by June.

“I had wanted a building for a long time,” said Allen, who owns an auction company and also serves as Western District Commissioner for Pike County. “After talking to some people I realized there seemed to be a need for a reception hall.”

Allen started the necessary renovations. The kitchen area was completely replaced and a smaller kitchen area will be installed. The carpet was removed and the concrete floors will be refurbished. The drop ceiling was also completely removed and the walls were refinished.

Allen says he plans to restore the canopy from when the building was A&W. There will also be new bathrooms installed in addition to new plumbing and electrical wiring.

The building will also receive upgrades fitting a reception hall such as decorative lighting, doorways and a dance floor area. Other accommodations will be made as well to make the space inviting to a number of activities.

The outside of the building will remain largely unchanged in its current white, red and black. Allen noted he’s even looking to restore the J&J’s Roadhouse sign with the new name.

While the facility will primarily be used for events such as wedding receptions, Allen says he also plans to hold a limited amount of auctions at the location as well.

“I plan to mainly use it as a banquet hall for receptions and other gatherings,” Allen explained. “We’ll also have a room available for smaller events. It will be very nice when it’s done.”

He noted that he is about halfway through the renovation process.

Allen said he hopes to host wedding and anniversary receptions in addition to business functions and community events. He pointed out the facility could be used to house additional booth space for established events such as Christmas in the Green and new events.

“There really is a lot of opportunities and ways it could be used.”

Allen plans to turn one smaller area of the facility into a room dedicated to Pike County History. The “Memory Lane” room will feature artifacts and pieces of local history. He noted that businesses who would like to display articles, photographs or other memorabilia are encouraged to contact him.

As the plans begin to come together on the physical aspects of the venture, Allen noted he still has to hammer out other details such as fee structures, etc. He pointed out he plans to make the facility user-friendly to both the patrons and the vendors serving at events hosted there.

The facility will be smoke-free, though a designated smoking area will be constructed nearby.

“I’m hoping to be ready in June and maybe even in May.”

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