Saturday, December 16, 2017
Features and More

New downtown St. Petersburg restaurant likely to close

ST. PETERSBURG — Margarita Mama's and Banana Joe's in downtown St. Petersburg was served with an eviction notice on Monday, less than two months after the restaurant and sports bar opened.

The restaurant opened Aug. 10 in the Kress Building at Central Avenue and Fifth Street N and according to building owner Samuel Boutros is being evicted because of failure to honor the terms of its contract. The tenant has not paid his part of utilities, has failed to address city code violations and owes a number of subcontractors money, he said.

"The likely fate is that they are going to be leaving," says Boutros. "They are not doing well and I've not been pleased with how things have been going. "

Absentee owner Michael Dennis could not be reached for comment from his office in Ohio where he runs another Banana Joe's, but restaurant general manager Cortney Penick confirms the imminent closure.

"We tried it and made an honest effort. We get busier day by day, but it's not enough. We have until Sept. 30, but it's up in the air. We'll be open normally until then."

Boutros attributes slow sales at the St. Petersburg location to the owner's "complete disregard as to what St. Pete is all about. Channelside is not St. Pete."

The previous iteration of the restaurant at Channelside made headlines several years back when two Carolina Panthers cheerleaders engaged in a sexual act in one of the bar's bathroom stalls.

The 8,000 square foot first-floor space underwent a complete build-out, having been transformed into a restaurant from a rug store. Boutros maintains high hopes for the space's future.

"There are plenty of people who want to be in that space. It's a good location and a classy building — this building has been on postcards over the years."

Laura Reiley can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 892-2293.

Comments
She was about to celebrate her 94th birthday — and ended up in the back of a police car

She was about to celebrate her 94th birthday — and ended up in the back of a police car

Two days before her 94th birthday, Juanita Fitzgerald was arrested and hauled off to jail.The Eustis woman’s crime?She was being evicted and had fallen behind on her rent, WFTV 9 News reported. Instead of vacating her home at the National Church Resi...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Festivus 2017: Send us your best grievances

Festivus 2017: Send us your best grievances

Here's your chance. Tell us what annoyed you in 2017, and we'll share it with our readers.
Published: 12/15/17
Fueled by indulgence and machismo, restaurants are a hotbed for sexual harassment

Fueled by indulgence and machismo, restaurants are a hotbed for sexual harassment

When Brenda Terry was 16 and living in St. Louis, she was a hostess and food runner at a sports bar where female employees wore cute, little cheerleading skirts. One night, she said, a patron grabbed her crotch. She ran to her management team and the...
Published: 12/15/17
Self-serve beer bar opens Saturday in downtown St. Pete

Self-serve beer bar opens Saturday in downtown St. Pete

Pour Taproom, a craft beer bar with 85 taps that customers pour their own brew from, will open at noon on Saturday, Dec. 16. The nearly 2,300-square-foot bar at 225 Second Ave. N has undergone extensive renovations, including a St. Petersburg-themed...
Published: 12/15/17
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to marry May 19

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to marry May 19

LONDON — Kensington Palace says the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be held on May 19. The palace announced the date Friday and confirmed the ceremony will take place in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The couple announced their...
Published: 12/15/17
Inside Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s first Christmas without leader Paul O’Neill

Inside Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s first Christmas without leader Paul O’Neill

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A half hour to curtain, Al Pitrelli unwinds on a couch in his spartan dressing quarters, fresh off a loading-dock Marlboro. He’s deep inside an arena, about to play the 29th show in the 18th city of the Trans-Siberian ...
Published: 12/15/17
Tavis Smiley theatrical show canceled at Straz Center in wake of sexual misconduct allegations

Tavis Smiley theatrical show canceled at Straz Center in wake of sexual misconduct allegations

The theatrical tour about the death of Martin Luther King Jr. that Tavis Smiley was slated to bring to Tampa’s David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts has been canceled in the wake sexual misconduct allegations against the broadcaster.Death...
Published: 12/14/17
Updated: 12/15/17
This week's top holiday events: Parades, Christmas lights, theme parks and more

This week's top holiday events: Parades, Christmas lights, theme parks and more

PARADES Homosassa Christmas Boat Parade Parade begins at Marker 75 by Bird Island. Free. Homosassa Springs Marina, 10806 W Halls River Road, Homosassa. 6 p.m. Dec. 16.   Indian Rocks Beach Boat Parade It begins at the Holiday Inn Harbourside and...
Published: 12/14/17
Bar review: Spanish flair at Bulla Gastrobar in South Tampa

Bar review: Spanish flair at Bulla Gastrobar in South Tampa

Take a second and try to think of a few of the world’s biggest drinking cultures. Ireland is a freebie, but then you’ll probably move onto Germany, Russia and possibly even South Korea (yep, South Korea goes hard).How about Spain? No, I’m not just ta...
Published: 12/14/17
From Crystal River to Brooksville, branch out to shop on these unexpected main streets

From Crystal River to Brooksville, branch out to shop on these unexpected main streets

You don’t have to stare at a greeting card to picture a bustling old main street lined with decorated shops and lampposts. Historic small-town shopping districts are easy to find, and more charming than Walmart. Beyond the downtowns of St. Pet...
Published: 12/14/17