Friday, April 20, 2018
Business

After more than a decade at Channelside, Stump's Supper Club, Howl at the Moon close

TAMPA — The party ends Saturday for a restaurant and piano bar that have been in business for more than a decade at the beleaguered Channelside Bay Plaza.

Stump's Supper Club, a Southern-cuisine restaurant, and the Howl at the Moon bar will throw a going-out-of-business party and yard sale starting at 4 p.m., said Guy Revelle, one of the principals of the group that owns the businesses.

Heralded as the largest tenant and unofficial mayor of Channelside, Revelle said shuttering two of his five businesses there hasn't lessened his belief in the entertainment complex's potential.

"We're still really committed to the project and very excited about the future," he said Wednesday.

He's closing Stump's and Howl because the struggling Channelside Bay Plaza has been in receivership for the past two years, he said. And the out-of-town landlords don't care enough about the plaza to make a long-term commitment to it, he has said.

Both businesses were open only a few nights a week and relied mostly on planned parties and special events for revenue.

"We probably went back and forth a dozen times in the last year waiting to see what would happen with the new ownership," Revelle said.

Vinik Group, headed by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, has been in negotiations with Anglo Irish Bank of Dublin to purchase the 234,520-square-foot complex.

Hillsborough County filed a lawsuit against the previous owner, New York's Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp., that accused it of owing more than $300,000 in back rent and for failing to adequately maintain the complex.

The county's port authority owns the land on which the entertainment and retail complex sits on Channelside Drive.

Ashkenazy's default on a $27 million loan sent the complex into receivership in 2010.

Several businesses have opened — and ultimately failed — in the Channelside plaza in its 14-year history.

In the end, Stump's used a boost from last month's Republican National Convention, which listed plaza tenants as official venues for parties and events, to settle its obligations and walk away clean from the complex, Revelle said.

He said his company is still committed to Channelside. And he vowed that his other businesses there — Splitsville luxury bowling alley, Tinatapa's Spanish style restaurant and the Boathouse bar — will remain as the plaza changes ownership.

"They all serve a larger demographic (than Stump's or Howl) and it's just a better business decision," Revelle said.

In the meantime, Stump's and Howl will go out with a bang.

Stump's party will feature Jimmy James and the Velvet Explosion on the restaurant's famed shag carpet. Howl will host its last dueling piano competition.

"We came in with a party and we're going out with a party," Revelle said.

Every piece of kitsch adorning the walls of the restaurant is for sale. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Open Arms Ministry at Hyde Park Methodist Church to help care for the homeless.

"I bought each and every piece of art locally at antique shops and junk shops," said Revelle. "So customers that have a lot of history with us and can come and take a piece home with them."

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