Denison OK's sale of mixed beverages, extended hours for Jake's Place

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
The city of Denison amended its permit with Jake's Place to allow for mixed beverage sales, extended hours, and a expanded dance floor.

Late last year, a long-time nightclub took on a new purpose when it was converted into a new family-oriented food truck park. Now six months later, the owners of the establishment are expanding the park's focus and scope that may include a dance venue.

The Denison City Council approved modifications to a conditional-use permit for Jake's Place, a food truck park and dining hall along Texoma Parkway, to allow for the sale of mixed beverages, extended hours and a 2,000 square-foot dance floor with a dance hall designation.

"I wish we didn't have to call this a nightclub or a dance hall because it is very far from that right now," owner Barry Reed said.

When Reed announced plans last year to open a restaurant during the middle of a global pandemic, friends said he was taking a risky gamble. Still, the general contractor by day moved forward with his plans to convert the former Calhoun's nightclub into a family-friendly venue for his autistic son — the park's namesake.

The park opened its doors in October with an assortment of food trucks, indoor dining space and regular live music primarily on the weekends. The location was also approved to sell beer and wine to its customers.

As restrictions on gatherings have loosened, Reed said the business has done well, but some issues rose up that led him to consider expanding the focus of the park. While the park initially planned to serve beer and wine, Reed said he soon found that his clients wanted something else: mixed drinks and other beverages.

"I was selling more soft drinks than I was beer and wine," he said.

Reed said the site's hours also became restrictive as many live shows and private events wanted to go longer than the venue allowed. This limited his opportunities for some events, including weddings, parties and other gatherings which were turned away by the limit hours.

"When you say everything you have to offer them, and then you tell them they have to be out by 12 a.m., it just doesn't work," Reed said.

 Under the new hours, Jake's place will be open until 2 a.m. on weekends. Reed also plans to reduce the focus on seating and reopen the venue's dance floor.

The changes received light push back from members of the council, who worried that the change of focus might be a nuisance for nearby residents. 

Mayor Janet Gott asked if the conditional use permit could be revoked in the event of issues that arise from the new use. Staff noted that it could be revoked, but it would have to be based on some part of the permit being violated. As an example, staff noted an abundance of police calls could be grounds for the city to revoke.

Reed noted that in the past six months that police have not been called to the site. Also, he said he does not expect the music to be an issue as it is not overly loud.

Reed initially requested a one-year extension for landscaping requirements, which are needed for the site to be within city code. However, members of the council pushed back and compromised on six months, which Reed agreed to.

When put to a vote, the council passed the request unanimously.

Reed said he expects to have the changes in place in about a month, following approval from the TABC.