Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Garden in St. Pete is NOT closing

Great news: It looks like the longest-running jazz gig in the Tampa Bay area is going to keep on keeping on.

The Garden, in downtown St. Petersburg, is changing hands but staying open, and ex-Ellington trombonist Buster Cooper is keeping his gig. That's according to Laura Reiley's story in the St. Petersburg Times. Click here to read.

The new owners, according to the story: Bill Edwards and brothers Tommy and Vagelis Varlas. Reiley writes, "Edwards is also partner with Jannus Landing's new minority owner, Jeff Knight; the Varlas brothers have been in the restaurant business for many years, most recently in St. Pete Beach."

Tommy Varlas told Reiley about several planned upgrades to the eatery, located in a building dating back to 1890: "Effective immediately, we're putting money into it, giving it a facelift with new lighting and updated bathrooms."

Thanks to blog reader Headless Hornman -- also a fellow chatter on the (New Orleans) Jazz Fest board -- for pointing it out.

1 comment:

headless hornman said...

Another update to the story; Buster made deal to move to Jo Jo's before Garden rescue--he will honor it:

Buster Cooper will honor agreement

Trombonist and local legend Buster Cooper thought last weekend would be his last at the Garden restaurant. Not quite.

After a last-minute ownership switch, the Garden, at 217 Central Ave., isn't going away. New owners Bill Edwards and Tommy and Vagelis Varlas have vowed to keep up the Mediterranean bistro's traditions. And Cooper agreed to return this weekend for an encore performance. But Cooper still plans on honoring the agreement he made with Jo Jo's in Citta restaurant at 200 Central Ave.

On Jan. 8, Cooper will move his weekend gig there. Jo Jo's chef-owner Antonio Condello said Cooper and his troupe will play in the rear bar room, Jo Jo's Bella Notte Lounge, and outside on the sidewalk cafe.