Legendary Katie Belle’s will not reopen after Coronavirus closure

The Villages’ legendary Katie Belle’s will not be reopening, the most prominent victim of the Coronavirus crisis here in Florida’s Friendliest Hometown.

“This was a very difficult decision to make,” Villages Operations Manager Ryan McCabe told The Villages Daily Sun.

He said Katie Belle’s “team members” will be reallocated to “other venues.”

The exterior of the Van Patten House, home to Katie Belle’s.

McCabe offered no indication of what might be taking over the Katie Belle’s space at Spanish Springs Town Square.

Katie Belle’s, a Villages landmark for more than 20 years, was named after the mother of Villages founder Harold Schwartz. Its western-style dance hall was the place to meet, dance and be seen here in The Villages. And longtime Villagers will surely remember the days of the “salad wheel” being brought to their table. A large contraption that resembled a Western-style wagon wheel, the fixings were all there and patrons could just spin the wheel around to the items or dressing they wanted to add to their tasty salads.

The once-legendary dance floor at Katie Belle’s.

In April 2015, demolition plans filed with the Town of Lady Lake offered a glimpse into the future of the popular facility. The wood dance floor was to be removed and salvaged, as was a bar top. The first floor was to be sectioned off for retail space and the second floor was to have a dining area with a stage, a separate bar area and space for a salad bar, all accessible by steps or an elevator.

Villagers danced onstage in 2014 at Katie Belle’s while Tommy Mara performed.

When Katie Belle’s reopened after the renovation, many residents were unhappy with the results. The fact that Katie Belle’s was no longer a private club for residents prompted one resident to conclude, “Sorry Mr. Developer, but you blew this one.”

A crew in 2015 works on the new Katie Belle’s facade in Spanish Springs. It was part of a major renovation that turned out to be a dud, as far as residents were concerned.

Tell us what you think about the closing of Katie Belle’s in a Letter to the Editor at this link: https://www.villages-news.com/category/editor-letters/

 

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