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The Banyan Cafe on MLK is closed, but has a future with original owner

The Central Avenue location will continue to operate as normal.
Erica Allums poses for a portrait behind the counter at Banyan Cafe in St. Petersburg while she was still the owner. Now, she's in the process of taking over the MLK spot once again. [Times (2018)] [Tampa Bay Times]

ST. PETERSBURG — The Banyan Cafe on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street N has closed, but its sister location on Central Avenue will remain open.

Shop regulars noticed a closed sign go up this week at the 689 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N shop. But its future will still be in the Banyan family. Banyan Cafe and Catering founder Erica Allums said she is in the process of taking the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street property back over.

“We’re negotiating now,” Allums said, “any day now the papers should be signed.”

Allums found Banyan Cafe and Catering at that location in 2008. She eventually opened the second place on Central Avenue, but decided to sell the cafes to focus on her growing catering business.

The Banyan Cafe on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street N (pictured) has closed, but the one on Central Avenue is running as normal. [SARA DINATALE | Tampa Bay Times]

The cafes were sold to Tampa Bay Caffeine and new owner Hernan Nova. Nova will continue to operate the Central Avenue location downtown as normal.

Allums said plans for the original Banyan are still in the works. It will likely be another cafe, she said. No matter what, it will be something suited to and special enough for the space.

“My heart will always be at MLK Banyan,” Allums said.