Wednesday, December 13, 2017
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Tampa's Stadium Green Iguana, Hawaiian Village to close

About a month after closing one restaurant and opening another, the Green Iguana Bar & Grill is shutting down its Dale Mabry location near Raymond James Stadium.

Green Iguana's parent company, G.I. Entertainment & Restaurant Group, announced Monday the Stadium location at 2520 N Dale Mabry Highway will close Wednesday night. Officials said the closure had nothing to do with the restaurant's performance, and efforts are under way to find a new location.

"This is not our decision. Unfortunately the property has been sold and the new owners of the property are putting a car dealership in this space," operating partner Alan Fosco said in a statement.

The Tampa-based chain is reassigning the managers and will try to keep as many employees as possible, he said. The entire restaurant, adjacent Hawaiian Village concert venue and former hotel will be bulldozed.

Rappers Machine Gun Kelly and Tech N9ne will be Hawaiian Village's final act on Wednesday. Reggae artist Luciano's July 7 show was expected to move to Jannus Live in St. Petersburg.

Rumors about the closure came to head when musicians performing at Green Iguana locations were notified of the pending plans. Jimmy James, who books talent for the Green Iguana, said entertainers at the Stadium restaurant will continue to perform at the other locations.

Known for its oversized green iguana perched on a tiki hut-style roof, the Stadium Green Iguana opened about two years ago and leased the space. Green Iguana's Hawaiian Village directly behind it quickly became a popular concert venue, drawing big names like Korn, Anthrax and Paul Oakenfold, and popular events like DayGlow parties.

In May, Green Iguana closed its St. Petersburg waterfront location at 8790 Bay Pines Blvd., after the G.I. Entertainment & Restaurant Group decided not to renew its lease. The same month, Green Iguana opened at Tampa International Airport.

The first Green Iguana opened more than 20 years ago on West Shore Boulevard in Tampa, followed by locations in Brandon, Ybor City and on Anderson Road near the Veterans Expressway. The Ybor City location is a franchise owned by Jason Fernandez, who also owns Bernini, Hot Willy's and the new Carne Chophouse, all in Ybor City. In addition, Green Iguana's parent company owns Hula Bay Club and the Retreat, both in Tampa.

Home of $5 burgers on Monday and other daily specials, the chain has built a following around its live music and Caribbean-inspired casual atmosphere. Last month, Green Iguana's hamburgers took top honors at the first Burger Showdown at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in Tampa.

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