A row of small, sealed windows line the red-brick wall of the old Nickleback building in downtown Gainesville.
Though no one has been able to look through the windows in years, they provide a glimpse into more than a century of history and inspiration for its future.
Chris Richardson is the owner of re-cess Southern Gastro-Pub and Sidebar120, two restaurants located next door to each other and the Nickleback building on Bradford Street.
“This building is 111 years old and was built before cars. As I understand this whole complex, all three of these buildings were together at one time,” Richardson said.
“They were used to support the commerce on the square but mainly the horses. These are the old stables. So this room will be called The Stables at re-cess.”
Richardson said he thinks there is a real value in playing up the history of the three buildings.
“It supported and drove the initial commerce and now it’s doing it again. It just kind of makes for a good story. We try to pitch in and preserve the history in these buildings,” Richardson said.
The Nickleback building was formerly a shoe store and more recently a restaurant.
Richardson said he was fortunate to find such unique buildings that had previously been restaurants.
“My model has always been going in and finding buildings that have already been restaurants. Then figuring out what it could be and figuring out how to come up with concepts,” Richardson said.
Over the years, the buildings have housed a number of restaurants, some of them lasting for only a few months.
Richardson said he knows how risky the restaurant business is. He has opened four successful restaurants in the last nine years.
“Now, not only are we starting to thrive, but it seems like a lot of the other businesses (on the square) are doing well,” Richardson said.
Nicholas McNabb, front of house manager for re-cess, said a lot of people are eager to have a new place to listen to local musicians play.
“I think it’s a great new addition to the square,” McNabb said.
“We put a lot of hard work into the remodeling and fabrication of the building and we’re really excited about having some quality entertainment on Friday nights in the Stable Room.”
Regina Mansfield said she thinks the expansion of re-cess will be great for the square.
Mansfield is manager of Main Street Gainesville, an organization that promotes businesses in the downtown area.
“It’s great when a business grows. That just shows you that they are a success,” Mansfield said.
Mansfield said she was researching the various histories of the buildings in downtown Gainesville and was intrigued by all the stories.
“It’s cool to see what buildings turn into and evolve into,” Mansfield said.