Viva la Frida's deal falls through

Share on Nextdoor

This morning, it looked like Seminole Heights landmark Viva la Frida Cafe y Galleria had hosted its last supper. Reader Eric Sturm told the Weekly Planet that he and his girlfriend, Kimberly Finn, ate there last night and were told by waiters that the art gallery, concert venue and restaurant was closing its doors. The walls were bare of the distinctive art that was a large part of Viva's charm, the couple drank out of plastic and not glass, and kitchen staff were spotted tossing the inventory of food at the end of the night.

"It's kind of sad," Sturm said today. "I’m glad we went. We had no idea it was their last night."

As we wrote about earlier this year, one of Viva la Frida's owners, Angelica Diaz, wanted out, while the other, John Ames, was searching for a way to keep the restaurant open. Last we heard, he was vowing to keep the restaurant open "until further notice."

By the afternoon, however, the story changed, and the restaurant was still open. Ames explained by telephone that he had lined up a buyer — a sports bar operator with a Colorado investor — to purchase the restaurant and had expected to ink the deal this morning. At the last minute, the buyer changed his mind. He didn't like the neighborhood.

"I’m open indefinitely right now. I’m cooking," Ames said. "I’m bringing the art back in."

It is not all good news, however. Ames is continuing to seek a buyer. But in the meantime, he's hoping his loyal fans will turn out for food, Thursday night jazz jams and the many concerts that he had canceled and will now have to re-book.

Scroll to read more News Feature articles


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.