New DeKalb banquet hall to open in December

DeKALB – In fewer than two months, limousines will be able to drop brides off at Faranda’s new covered entryway for a reception with hundreds of people.

The new banquet facility the owners of the The Lincoln Inn restaurant are building has scheduled its grand opening for Dec. 3 in conjunction with the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce’s Winter Bash. Bill and Joy McMahon are renovating the former DeKalb Clinic Annex, 302 Grove St. in DeKalb, into a high-end space for events with as few as 45 people or as many as 400.

They chose to name the banquet hall after Joy McMahon’s Italian grandfather, Anthony Faranda, in keeping with the grandfather’s appreciation for long, filling family dinners.

“You always had a nice meal, and afterward, you’d always have coffee and dessert,” Bill McMahon said.

The McMahons bought the property at auction in March for $181,500 and received approval for a $355,000 tax increment financing loan from the city two months later. The loan is possible through a special economic development fund that uses property taxes from increasing property values downtown to improve blighted areas. The city would recoup the money through sales and property tax revenue associated with the banquet facility, or from the McMahons.

Overall, the project will cost about $2 million, Bill McMahon said.

When it’s finished, the lobby will be able to hold events with up to 150 people standing and mingling, while the main banquet area on the building’s east side can be sectioned off into smaller spaces for 56, 168 or 192 guests, Bill McMahon said. The west side of the building will include a meeting room for 90 people that can be divided in half.

The banquet area will feature two bars, while the entire building is wired so wedding parties can electronically display photographs or videos and business leaders can utilize laptops and electronic presentations, McMahon said. Food will be prepared in a kitchen on the building’s south end, and the facility also features a coat room and a special room for brides or dignitaries.

The McMahons plan to continue operating The Lincoln Inn, but felt the DeKalb community needed a banquet facility outside Northern Illinois University’s campus, especially after the South Pointe Centre on DeKalb’s south side closed last year.

“We can do big parties from the Lincoln Inn, but we can’t do 400,” Bill McMahon said.

Meanwhile, DeKalb 1st Ward Alderman David Jacobson is renovating the other former DeKalb Clinic site. He bought 217 Franklin St. for $110,000 at the auction in March.

He is looking for a tenant for the former immediate care clinic space, and plans to demolish and renovate the other side of the building into as many as five 1,000- to 1,200-square-foot commercial spaces, Jacobson said. The retail spaces would be built to suit with as shared boardroom, conference room, and classroom.

He said those spaces would be ready for tenants in late December or early January.