Carrie Rengers

LaVela banquet hall opens next to Candle Club

The Candle Club’s sister business, the LaVela banquet hall, is celebrating a grand opening on Tuesday.

Candle Club general manager Judah Craig says there are already 30 parties booked there for the next few months, and that’s without any advertising.

“I figured it would be met with pretty good reception, but I’m excited about how well it’s gone over,” Craig says.

LaVela, or “the candle” in Italian, is in a 7,300-square-foot space immediately to the east of the Candle Club in the Prairie Village shopping center at the southwest corner of 13th and Woodlawn.

In January, Craig told Have You Heard? LaVela’s plans. Despite about 40 days of rain and other delays, he says, “We stuck to a pretty good time line.”

Unexpectedly, the LaVela space needed to be rezoned. It had been retail previously, and it needed the new zoning in order to serve alcohol.

The venue will be able to hold parties of up to 300 people. There are separate rooms for brides and grooms to use to get ready, though they’re not quite finished yet.

The LaVela kitchen is especially big because the venue will do off-site catering as well as in-house parties.

“We want to focus first on the venue,” Craig says.

In the new year, catering will be a new focus.

Craig says that unlike the Candle Club, which is for members only, LaVela is open to the public.

“I think there’s some confusion since we’re partners with the Candle Club.”

Also, Craig says, LaVela will be a nonsmoking venue, unlike the Candle Club.

In addition to parties, Craig says the space will be open to meetings as well. He says one real estate group already toured the space and especially liked the room’s audio-visual capabilities.

“They were really thrilled what we were able to do,” Craig says.

“I’m really most proud of the AV capabilities that we have.”

The Tuesday grand opening celebration, which is from 2 to 8 p.m., will feature a 4:30 ribbon cutting.

Craig says the public is welcome at the party “so you kind of get a real feel for the ambiance.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers