Route 46 Entertainment District to reopen after 4-year hiatus

The Route 46 Entertainment District – the 5-acre complex that featured three restaurants, three bars and a live-performance venue – will reopen later this month.

The complex closed abruptly in July 2012, but in the past week, the sign outside the complex at 4316 W. State Road 46 has been asking motorists if they “smell the smoke.”

Sure enough, Amy Briscoe, the recently hired director of operations for the complex, confirmed that Route 46 will open in two to three weeks. The original concept and venues will remain with some tweaks.

“The Smokehouse will be the first to open,” said Briscoe, noting that The Smokehouse was the first part of the complex to open when Route 46 first began in 2008. “The Saloon and the Garage Bar will open later in September.”

For those who don’t remember – it has been four years after all – the Route 46 Entertainment District is comprised of:

  • The Smokehouse at Route 46, a barbecue restaurant located in a cabin setting with a bar.
  • The Saloon at Route 46, an old-timey Western bar  complete (with actual swinging doors) featuring cocktails, craft beer and a full dinner menu.
  • The Garage Bar at Route 46, a bar/performance venue with a stage set up for professional sound and lighting rigs.

Route 46 logoOne change from the original concept is that the fourth component of the complex, Monroe’s at Route 46, will no longer be an upscale restaurant open to the public. Instead, Briscoe said Monroe’s will be converted into an event center.

“Monroe’s will be available for all types of events: weddings, corporate events, receptions, holiday parties,” said Briscoe. “There really is a need for professional event space in this area.”

Briscoe brings 22 years of corporate restaurant management and operations experience to her new job. She’s putting together a top-notch team with the goal of providing a unique experience for guests.

“The focus is going to be on quality food and excellent customer service,” said Briscoe. “This is a great venue, and people are going to enjoy the live music, the food and the whole experience.”

That’s what’s happening at Route 46, now to put some rumors to rest.

I stopped believing everything I read on social media when Abraham Lincoln Tweeted that President Obama’s half-brother was voting for Donald Trump.

Some of y’all aren’t as discerning.

When the complex closed four years ago, owner Don Hachenberger told television station WESH at the time that he closed the complex for “my mental health, my physical health and my financial health.” A business dispute with a partner combined with a contentious divorce are unhealthy for all three types of health.

Since that time, online and offline rumors have swirled about what would become of the entertainment complex.

There was the one that claimed the property had been sold multiple times, including to a Brazilian firm.

Then someone claimed that an assisted living facility was going to be built on the property. Another person said the the county was trying to foreclose on the property because the Warlocks motorcycle gang was using the place as its Florida headquarters.

And of course, the rumor mill would not be complete without the ubiquitous claim that Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods or “cool-place-to-shop de jour” was going to build a new store on the property.

Truth can be stranger than fiction – but not this time. The real story is Hachenberger always intended to reopen, that’s why the buildings and property were maintained during the hiatus. He was just biding time to reopen until he was ready and felt the time was right.

And since Hachenberger started RE/MAX of Florida in 1984, grew the company to 250 offices across the state, and sold the firm in 2007 for more than $150 million, he can afford to wait for a very, very long time.

So now you know.