History of Parc Café
Contributed by Bruce Carlson
The Parc Café nestles in the corner of the 100-year old former Ace Hardware building, purchased from Tom Everett in 2006 by Carlson Software. A stone at the apex of the main façade shows “1915” as the date of construction. Around 2008, Bruce Carlson envisioned creating a park on the adjacent land, and then constructing a café in the corner of the building with formal terrace overlooking the park. This was the beginning of the Parc Café.
The French version of “park” was selected because the café exterior was modeled after Le Procope Restaurant in Paris, France, considered the first café to serve Arabian coffee in Paris back in the 1600’s. Voltaire, Rousseau and so many others of the French literati met there to discuss and debate, their senses sharpened by the exotic brew from the Orient. By chance, the street dimensions of Le Procope’s façade matched exactly the length of the terrace, leading to nearly identical proportions. To maintain the “French” motif, formal stone pillars were used to enclose the terrace, connected by ironworks showing the fleur de lis, symbol of the Ancien Regime.
Design work for the park layout was conducted by Stroik Architects of South Bend, Indiana. Work began in March, 2009, in the teeth of the Great Recession. Contractors were eager for work, and somehow Carlson found the resources to fund it. In a sense, the park and the Parc Café were Maysville’s own, private “stimulus” program, sans any government involvement. Bevins Construction of Mason County did the grading work. All limestone used in the dry-laid walls came from the Bevins Quarry in Moransburg. Jason Reinhold of Cincinnati did the retaining wall face stone and laid the cobblestone access drive and parking, using salvaged cobblestones from the streets of Cincinnati. Javier Flores of Mason County was one of the stone masons who laid down the granite “fan” design that is the surface of the terrace. Rick and Ron Ladina, now employees of Carlson Software, were the main designers and builders of the café façade and placed the steps leading up and out of the park. Master stonemason Mark Miller of Robertson County placed the hand-laid columns and walls in the park. The work was so meticulous that each of the 4 columns in the park represents 4 months of hand-chiseled labor. (Look closely and you’ll see stones spanning the full width of the columns at certain locations.) Ed Reeves, of Sugarloaf Quarries in Poteau, Oklahoma, fashioned the bright white limestone capping stones and formal terrace columns. Smith Iron of Hobart, Ohio near Marietta did the expert iron work throughout the park and terrace. Marty Frankenhoff of Georgetown, Ohio did the landscaping. Hedgecock Electric did the lighting work. By 2012, the park and terrace were complete.
The interior design of the Parc Café was a collaboration of Emily Carlson and Rick and Ron Ladina. The Ladina’s conceived the fleur de lis design in the floor at the entrance and placed all flooring as well as ceiling tin. The large squares in the floor design are natural travertine stone from Italy (available at Lowes!), accented by the brown onyx corner squares imported from Pakistan. Emily sourced the wall sconces and ceiling lights from London, England. All woodwork in the café was custom designed and precisely milled on site in the basement workshop by Rick and Ron Ladina. Emily ordered the indoor and outdoor café chairs directly from France.
The Parc Café opened for the first time in December, 2013. The café has a unique ambience due to the classic design, natural materials and craftsmanship used in construction. Enjoy the pastries, food, drinks and especially the coffee. Take a cue from Voltaire and Rousseau and sharpen your wit here at the Parc Café, bring some work with you, stay as long as you like, consider writing that novel that you’ve put off, and gaze into the park for inspiration. The Parc Café is a gift to the community of Maysville, provided by all the talented people who contributed to its creation.