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RJ's Tavern taking shape

If all goes as planned, the new and improved RJ's Tavern on Main will be open later this month, or in early January.

If you're hoping that the new space resembles the old, you'll be disappointed.

If you're hoping that the new RJ's has twice the space, fireplaces, a large handcrafted wood bar, an upstairs parlour for special events and 16 beers on tap, you'll be happy.

Work continues on an extensive renovation project at the downtown bar/restaurant. The location has been closed since the end of September.

"We're looking forward to getting it done," owner Joe Ryan said. "That's for sure."

What's new

The restaurant's menu will be expanded and will include more dinner items, dinner specials and a periodic buffet.

The location will be more kid-friendly, with booths and tables instead of high-top bar tables.

The game room in back will remain with a pool table and darts.

With the parlour upstairs and the expansion downstairs, more options will exist for entertainment.

The project

Late this September, RJ's closed its doors and the remodeling project began.

The scope of the project grew considerably when it was determined that structural work was needed to the building. Water had damaged the walls, and trusses on the roof needed replacing. All of this slowed down the construction process.

The whole reconstruction has been a big effort. That big effort has been accompanied by a big price tag, but Ryan is optimistic about downtown Hastings.

"I think downtown has a lot to offer,"?he said. "It has a lot of potential that hasn't been tapped. We have a great customer base. We have some customers that are very loyal, and we intend to grow that customer base."