223 Hay Street was constructed circa 1914 and served as a wholesale grocery store. By 1924, the building was extended to the rear and became the Wigwam Billiard Room. The upper two floors were added around that time and became the Palace Hotel.
In 1937, the “Rainbo Restaurant” was established in the ground floor, and the hotel was renamed the Rainbo Hotel. The Rainbo was just one of nearly a dozen eateries run by the Greek- American Community and would become Fayetteville’s longest-lived restaurant operated by a Greek-American family. The restaurant became a local favorite and everyone who was anyone met to discuss events and eat at the Rainbo.
In 1976, the once popular eatery moved from its Hay Street location to Ramsey Street and the abandoned building stood vacant for more than 25 years. It fell into such disrepair that the City of Fayetteville slated the building for demolition by neglect in 1990. Fortunately, ongoing legal battles and three changes in ownership prolonged the demolition order.
In 1999, the property was purchased by Jan Johnson & Pat Wright. An extensive renovation was performed under the careful guidance and scrutiny of the State Historic Preservation office.
Finally, in 2002, the historic three-story building was reopened as home to The Rainbow Room (1st floor), Moonlight Communications, Inc. (2nd floor), and the Dream Loft apartment (3rd floor). Since then, The Rainbow Room has been host to hundreds of weddings, corporate and military events, and celebrations of all types.
Take a peek at the transformation from a dilapidated building ready for the wrecking ball to an award-winning showplace in the heart of Historic Downtown Fayetteville.