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WHAT’S GOING ON? Demolition of Building Fronting Banner Elk Cafe To Make Way for Tavern

Les and Cindy Broussard, owners of Banner Elk Cafe and Espresso Lodge, hold up plans for the new Tavern they are building. Photo by Jesse Wood    

By Jesse Wood 

The owners of the Banner Elk Café & Espresso Lodge are expanding their enterprise with a 1,900-square-foot addition for the Tavern, which is replacing a stand-alone structure that housed a barbershop and chiropractor clinic in the past.

The Tavern component is being tied into Les and Cindy Broussard’s two restaurants, coffee shop and ice cream parlor, located in downtown Banner Elk and across the street from the historic Banner Elk School. All together, the businesses sit on about a half-acre. 

The stand-alone building that used to house a barbershop and chiropractor’s clinic was demolished to make way for a tavern.   

The couple closed on the tiny property, featuring the stand-alone building, in November for the expansion, and demolished that building within the past week. The expansion will serve multiple purposes, such as providing a hostess area and a bar.

“We don’t have a place where you just sit and have a cocktail and meet with some friends for drinks. We do have live music every weekend … but it’s never been that intimate of an environment. I think that is what we are missing,” Cindy said. “Now, I think we can offer a place to hangout and have a cocktail.”

While the their restaurants have had a full listing of wine, beer and liquor offerings throughout the years, Cindy noted that the Tavern will give the community a place to enjoy a drink, for example, before Ensemble Stage shows that are coming to Banner Elk in the summer.

When the Tavern is constructed, the entrance to the Banner Elk Café off of Shawneehaw Avenue is going to shift and a covered entrance is going to be built. When customers walk into the café’s entrance, they have the option of waiting in the reception area, taking a right, upstairs to the Tavern or heading straight back to the open deck-like area.

“The patio now is going to be all connected to the Tavern. It’s going to be one big flowing, huge enclosed deck,” Broussard said, adding that all of the existing outside seating is going to remain.

The addition features a lot of stone and wood. Lakeview Construction is the contractor and Robert Mann Architecture is the architect of the project.

The owners hope to open the Tavern by Memorial Day. 

Check out the project renderings below:

This is the front entrance of the Banner Elk Cafe will shift with the addition of the Tavern.
This is the side view of the Tavern and the front of the Espresso Lodge.
This is what the front entrance of the Banner Elk Cafe will look like in a few months. The left structure is the cafe as it stands today. Note that the entrance is going to shift to the right. The Blue section is the addition of the Tavern.
This is the side view of the Tavern and the front of the Espresso Lodge.