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Cafe to replace children’s shop at Neilson’s Department store

The space under Neilson’s Department store, that used to be a child’s clothing area, will soon become a cafe that will feature the remembered favorites of the Hoka and Main Squeeze and other menu items owners hope become new favorites.

Lee and Terry Bowie received approval from the Courthouse Square Historic Preservation Commission Thursday to replace an existing window with a door and install exhaust in the back of the building.

Bowie said he hopes to open the cafe this fall.

“If we can get everything done, I’d love to be open next month,” he said this morning.

Bowie is leasing the space from Will Lewis, owner of Neilson’s.

Ron Shapiro, former owner of the Hoka Theater and Main Squeeze juice bar will be helping with the menu and food, Bowie said.

Shapiro said at the meeting that he would be serving similar juices from the Main Squeeze, along with the much-loved cheesecake and fudge pie.

In other business Thursday, the commission:

— Approved the COA for replacing columns at The Thomson House that were in disrepair due to wood damage from termites and weather.

— Approved a handicap accessible ramp behind Visit Oxford’s new location on Jackson Avenue in the former Freeland Law Firm building.

— Tabled a request for a COA for Bacchus restaurant, in the former Tre Amici building on Jackson Avenue. The owners wished to remove the awning and replace the windows; however, the commission wanted the awning to be remove first to see what is behind it before making a decision and tabled the request to a recessed meeting on Sept. 16.

— Tabled a request for a COA from the owner of Karma on Jackson Avenue to replace and remove windows. The owner expressed interest in having windows that would open to create an outdoor feel to the small restaurant. Commissioners asked him to return on Sept. 16 with more details on a window that would do what he wanted but maintain the historical aspects of the building.