The 125-year-old building at Magnolia Avenue and Fort King Street was built as part of the reconstruction of downtown Ocala after the infamous Thanksgiving Day fire in 1883.
When Waica Micheletti walked into the 125-year-old building at the corner of Magnolia Avenue and Fort King Street in downtown Ocala last fall, her usually deft creative mind was at a loss for ideas.
The original brick walls were covered in drywall. The space was painted blue, green and orange. There were no windows on the exterior walls. The floor was rotting. And there were drop ceilings.
“It was,” she said, pausing to pick the right words, “just awful.”
But Micheletti and her sister Evelyn Nussel decided to accept the challenge and renovate the building originally built in the early 1890s. In February, they opened Ivy on the Square at 53 S. Magnolia Ave., a Southern cuisine-inspired restaurant designed to reflect the speakeasies of the 1920s.
Micheletti described the style as vintage industrial.
The sisters sealed and restored the original brick walls of the building’s interior and kept the ceiling beams intact, just updating them with a coat of gray paint. But most everything else in the restaurant is new.
“We tried to keep it as original as we could,” Micheletti said. But some things — like the dirt floor in the planned kitchen area — had to go.