The Lemon Grove Cafe will expand this summer as part of its mission to improve the quality of life in Youngstown and the surrounding areas.
Jacob Harver, founder of the Lemon Grove, bought the former Rosetta Stone Cafe and Lounge, located just two doors away from the Lemon Grove’s current location.
Harver has a plan for the five floors of the new building, including the basement. Each floor is twice the size of the 122 W. Federal St. location.
He said the extra space will permit more variety in activities and functions, such as art galleries and concerts. Harver also added that there will be conference rooms for meetings and private events. In addition, a larger kitchen will be available for more catering jobs.
Harver also has a plan to turn the basement of the new building into a performance venue.
A Youngstown State University alumnus, Harver said the Lemon Grove has helped to build a bridge between the downtown and the university — and he hopes the new location will continue to bring YSU students closer to the Youngstown community.
Harver said he has also worked to provide a platform for local musicians and artists to exchange creative ideas. For example, the Lemon Grove allows artists the chance to sell their artwork and provides concert venues for musicians.
He said he wants to make Youngstown a cultural center. Lyndsey Hughes, the city’s director of downtown events, said Harver is trying his best to improve the city. She said the Lemon Grove’s expansion will likely attract more business to the area.
“It is all positive,” Hughes said. “It is unique to downtown; you can find all different kinds of people in the restaurant. … The Lemon Grove is a cultural hub of downtown.”
The Lemon Grove also supports local food sources, and Harver is planning to work with the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation’s Iron Roots Urban Farm.
“Lemon Grove supports local products,” said Liberty Merrill, YNDC program coordinator. “I am looking forward to working with Jacob and Lemon Grove as customers and partners.”