By Ashley Davis
After almost two years of operation, Legacy Café and Art Gallery is looking to energize its clientele. James Lafayette, owner and manager of the café, has announced plans to open a private club in the upstairs section of the building that has been largely unused.
Lafayette said the club would feature a TV/lounge area where customers can relax. There will be two adjacent rooms, one for foosball and air hockey and other arcade-like games, and one quieter room for cards, chess or reading.
Lafayette said dues would be $50 per month and VIP cards would be issued to participating customers once they pay for membership. Members will have to present the VIP cards to gain access.
“I want it to be different from Treff’s or Metro,” Lafayette said. “My inspiration was just talking to people and seeing what they wanted.”
Lafayette said the club would also have a stage and live music scheduled on Fridays and Saturdays. The downstairs café would close at 10 p.m. and the upstairs club would be open from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Though the upstairs club is still under construction, Lafayette said he hopes it will be ready for a dry run in April and ready for full business by Sept. 1. Lafayette said the café has struggled along with the rest of downtown Waco for the past several months.
“Business is rough, but it’s better when I have music. We don’t do a good job of promoting downtown as a whole in Waco,” Lafayette said.
Southlake senior and frequent customer Amara Oji expressed enthusiasm and support for the upstairs club. She said she hopes it improves Lafayette’s business. “I think it can be a good thing if it’s done successfully and managed well,” Oji said.
Oji said she is aware that business has been slow for Lafayette.
“I think it would be best for him to promote his café’s location and make it known to people who want to do events,” Oji said. “Without the right advertisement it’s going to be hard for him to find new customers.”
Oji also performs original songs and poetry occasionally on Legacy’s jazz nights (Fridays).
Though the café is located in prime real estate in the center of downtown Waco, Lafayette said business is slow.
The Hippodrome Theater, located directly across the street, is undergoing renovations and the developers have announced plans to reopen the building as a theater/restaurant.
“I’m not sure how this will affect business,” Lafayette said. “The city needs more diversity of things to do. Not another bar or restaurant.”
Located at 723 Austin Ave., Legacy Café has been a new music and art venue since it’s opening in June 2011.
The café features the work of local artists and live musicians on weekends.
The art displayed on the walls and in the hall of the café are those of aspiring artists in the Waco area and many pieces are for sale.
On Friday, Legacy Café will host Solid State, a jazz band made up of Baylor students and then Dreamboat on Saturday.
Both shows are free and open to the public.