The Courthouse Area Design Review Board on Wednesday gave Dudley's approval to renovate the façade of the building at 261 West Short Street where the restaurant hopes to move before the end of the year.
The windows across the front will be removed and replaced with four large glass doors, each 91/2 feet tall and 31/2 feet wide.
The board also approved a patio that will be constructed over the first-floor roof to allow for outdoor dining.
The stone arches over the front windows look original to the building, said Debbie Long, Dudley's owner. But the present façade with the arches and faux stucco was done "probably in the 1970s. Those arches are from Joy Ley Antiques in Louisville."
"So we are bringing it back to the same look it had when it was built," she said.
The building is within the downtown Courthouse Area Design Review Zone, where exterior changes to buildings, demolition or new construction must be approved by the design review board.
The three-story building was built in 1890 with the Northern Bank on the second and third floors and a drugstore on the first floor. After World War II, the first floor was converted to office space, said Josh Marrillia, contractor for the project.
To get ready for the conversion to a restaurant, interior demolition has started. Long has applied to the Kentucky Heritage Council and the National Parks Service for state and federal historic tax credits to offset costs.
"You can get up to 20 percent of the cost in tax credits," Marrillia said.
The restaurant will have the bar at the front, the dining room behind. Two rooms on the second floor can be reserved for private parties.
Out front will be sidewalk tables. The rooftop patio, similar in size to Dudley's present patio, will be landscaped and have a water feature.
Long said she knew in December that she was going to have to move, and she started looking for another location.
"I loved this building from the minute I walked into it," she said.
Dudley's will close Oct. 31 in Dudley Square, where it opened 28 years ago.