Friday 10 May 2013

Circa on Seventh
Banquet hall returns theater building to glory

Posted by at 4:46 PM

Circa on Seventh

As we have seen a lot business move out of downtown Kenosha towards the interstate (west), kudos to Kathy and Keith Meyer for their commitment to the downtown area.  

Thought everyone might be interesting in following article that appeared in the Kenosha News last month...

For decades, 4902 Seventh Ave. was home to the Polish Legion of American Veterans. Before that, it was the Hollywood Theater. And long before that, it was the Butterfly Theater. Now it’s the new home of “Circa on Seventh,” a banquet hall operated by the owners of L&M Meats and Catering. L&M’s owners, Kathy and Keith Meyer, are also re-branding their formal catering business as “Culinary Infusion.”

“We love being here,” Kathy Meyer said.

PLAV bought the Hollywood Theater in the 1960s and filled in the slanted theater floor to create a banquet hall. The theater’s 22-foot ceilings were dropped down to lower heating costs. When Circa’s contractors ripped out the drop ceiling, they exposed an old movie theater balcony.

“Anyone who had been in there since the 1960s didn’t know this balcony existed,” said Hanni Gould, general manager.

Over the decades, the building’s many transformations eliminated most of the period details, but a smattering of architectural treasures have been saved. The movie theater box office that stretched to the left of the current entrance is gone now, but if you lift up the floor mats in the doorway, you can see old tiles spelling out “Butterfly.” A decorative glass holder on the bar contains dozens of ceramic insulators taken out of the walls when the old knob-and-tube electrical system was removed. And they’re still trying to figure out what to with a “corbel” (decorative molding cap) shaped like a woman’s face that was one of a dozen mounted around the theater.

The chandeliers and light fixtures are all new, but the Meyers found old pieces of the original light fixtures in storage that strongly resemble the ones they chose.

“It’s uncanny how similar they are,” Kathy Meyer said. “When people ask us if things are original, that’s when we feel the most pride.”

They also choose to install some “Edison lights,” with flickering filaments that give the space a retro feel. The women’s bathroom has a “blingy” chandelier, while the men’s restroom is a bit darker, with a large Edison light.

“We wanted it to look original without being dated,” Gould said.

The building to the south, which had been purchased by PLAV for storage, is now Circa’s banquet room. An exposed brick wall along the north side of the room is actually the exterior of the movie theater.

Since the building was originally a movie theater, it did not have windows, so the Meyers had several windows built into the second floor to bring in natural light. They installed a new, dark wood dance floor and bar. Upstairs, there’s a private “Bride’s Room” with a long makeup table, large restroom, full-length mirror and built-in refrigerator. It’s a cozy, well-lit space that allows brides and their bridesmaids a place to freshen up and escape. The window has a view of the lake.

Circa on Seventh already has hosted several private events and will be open to the public on Thursday for the Chamber of Commerce’s “Business After 5” networking event (admission $5). Gould said the price range for private, formal, catered dinners is $14 to $29, with other options available.