The building at 142 N. Woodland Blvd. has been many things in its 120 or so years of existence — grocery store, jewelry store and trendy restaurant. Now, it takes on a new life as Downtown DeLand’s newest event rental space.
Venue 142 is the brainchild of twins Frank and Bill Jennings, who for almost two decades ran their Brickhouse Grill restaurant at that location, as well as another full-service restaurant, Byte Bistro, across the street.
But earlier this year, the brothers decided they wanted to scale back their workloads after 30-plus years in the restaurant business, so they converted Brickhouse Grill into a place in which they can hold banquets, corporate events and other large gatherings. (A smaller rental space is available on the second floor of Byte Bistro.)
“We’re shutting down for quality-of-life reasons,” Bill Jennings said in an interview with his brother back in May, right after closing the restaurant. “We’ve been working 80 to 90 hours a week, and we’re just trying to step back.”
The brothers stripped the interior of the restaurant to the bare brick walls, and removed a weight-bearing wall that separated the restaurant from the bar, Frank Jennings said. They converted a lanai into the main entrance flanked by short brick walls, and added a privacy wall outside the restrooms.
White ceiling-to-floor draperies surround the interior windows and doors, adding to the upscale feel of the place.
By doing most of the work themselves, the brothers kept down the cost of converting and renovating the space to about $75,000, which included a steel arch to replace the weight-bearing wall, Frank Jennings said.
“We really saved a hell of a lot,” he said, just days after a grand opening and ribbon-cutting of the renovated space on Oct. 12.
Jennings praised City of DeLand officials, who were very cooperative throughout the renovation process.
“The city’s been absolutely great with us,” he said. “They’ve been great to work with in terms of permitting and being timely and responsive — and being patient with us!”
Venue 142 takes advantage of the brothers’ Take a Byte Catering, which has been occupying an increasing portion of their attention, sometimes with multiple events on a given day. Now they can better focus on on-site and off-site catering.
Venue 142 already is booking events, with at least nine weddings scheduled into early next year and other events interspersed among them, Frank said. So the brothers’ much-desired additional personal time may not come right away.
“We may not see as much until the summertime slow season hits,” Frank Jennings said. “That’s when we’ll get the personal time we’re wanting.”