Joseph and Katherine Ng see plenty of promise in the former Lava Ultra Lounge, which ceased operations on March 31. So much so, they’ve bought the downtown Red Deer business and plan to expand its offerings in bigger premises.
In addition to about 4,500 square feet that Lava Ultra Lounge occupied on the ground floor of the Millennium Centre at 4909 49th St., the Ngs will lease about 1,500 square feet to the east — adjacent space that was previously used by Millennium Denture & Dental Hygiene Centre. This new area will be dedicated to dining, said Joseph, with a focus on “upscale modern western cuisine.”
The dining area will have seating for about 60, including a section that can be enclosed for private bookings. The restaurant will have its own entrance off 49th Street, but will also be connected to the lounge area, accessible from the interior of the Millennium Centre.
“There are a lot of people coming down for lunch,” noted Joseph, adding that the new restaurant will cater to noon hour patrons with fast service, quality food and variety.
He and Katherine also plan to market to the evening dining crowd. They want to make the restaurant a destination in itself, but anticipate that Central Alberta Theatre’s City Centre Stage across the street will also generate traffic.
Katherine said she would like to see the lounge become a social gathering place for downtown workers. It will undergo some improvements, she added, but most of these will be cosmetic.
“It will be similar. We’ll try to keep the atmosphere.”
The outdoor patio will continue to operate, confirmed Joseph, and the lounge should continue to offer live entertainment. But, he added, it will likely be more relaxing than in the past.
The Ngs said they liked what the Lava Ultra Lounge offered the downtown, and saw the potential for more. It wasn’t until after they decided to buy the business that they learned about the opportunity for expansion.
The former denture and dental hygiene centre requires considerable work to convert it into a restaurant, with work already underway.
“We’re hoping to reopen at the end of May,” said Joseph.
For now, the Ngs are keeping quiet about the name of their new lounge and restaurant. This will be disclosed closer to the reopening date, they said.
Lava Ultra Lounge previously belonged to Van Pham. It opened as The Firm eight years ago, with Pham’s brother Quan Diep the original owner.