The venue (which once housed Cabo Wabo) has seen little more than lawsuits and bankruptcies in the last half-decade. Pino Borrelli is looking to change that with his new club.
He isn’t reinventing the wheel, here. The high-end Vegas-style- dance-club thing has been done before. It can be a success with the proper owners and management, Borrelli says.
Is he right?
If you were there Friday night (or on Saturday) for the club’s grand-opening, I’d like to know your thoughts. Were the lines as long as Borrelli promised? What about the $500,000 in renovations? Is there any resemblance to the old Cabo/Wabo/Club Rome/Club Eva space? How about the entertainment? Borrelli says he’s looking to bring in bigger acts and better DJs. How was the overall vibe? More importantly, does this seems like a place with staying power?
It’s another night club for the old Cabo Wabo venue at Granite Park. According to this story from the Business Journal, Club Imperio will be opening in the 15,000 square-foot space next weekend.
It’s been awhile since we’ve heard any news out of Granite Park, the commercial complex — on Cedar avenues near Shields — that was home to the ill-fated Cabo Wabo night club in 2008. If you remember, the center got a TON of buzz when it was originally developed, especially when rocker Sammy Haggar came on board with his tequila-themed night club.
Of course, that venture quickly fell apart.
The space has never found its footing. Several businesses have tried in a series of re-openings (as The Edge, Club Rome and most recently Club Eva). Mostly, the businesses have flown under the radar if not floundered altogether.
We’ll be watching to see if Club Eva can make things work in a space — a very nice space, mind you — where so many other clubs have failed. Until then, let’s all reminisce about the Granite Park nightclub failures with this handy infographic.
No matter how much drama was at that nightclub, we always knew that the sporty Me-N-Ed’s offshoot would be there for us. Right, Victory Grill?
Sadly, not even Victory Grill — the longest-lasting survivor in the Mess That Milt Built — could be a winner at Granite Park. Though it made a good go of it. The Bee’s Bethany Clough reported on Tuesday that Victory Grill has closed and will be replaced next week by a new restaurant called RevoluciÃ³n Tequila Bar & Cocina, which opens May 5 from the same ownership group.
The latest: The general manager who recently took over is out, so he tells me. Further, the rumblings are that another “shake-up” in the works. So I called the club’s owner, John Janda, looking for answers.
This is exactly how the phone call went:
“This is Mike from The Fresno Bee …”
“Why do I want to talk to you?”
“If you are a spin doctor, I don’t want to talk to you. I’m going to do something drastic and you will hear about it.”
Wow. Not that I’ve never gotten hung up on before — but as far as characters go, Rome and Granite Park seem to have a never-ending supply. Janda eventually called me back and we had a more pleasant chat, though still totally unproductive. He didn’t hang up on me, but he also wouldn’t tell me what “drastic” change he was planning. So I thought it would be fun if we all guessed.
At this point, given that club’s tumultous history, what “drastic” change would work? What would surprise you? I say: He’s hiring Sammy Hagar as GM. *chuckle*
Amidst public speculation about its fate, the doors of Fresno’s popular Rome Nightclub remain open. There’s a new general manager in place who is stressing that Rome is still in business and moving forward. In fact, tonight, it hosts a concert with veteran rapper Spice 1.
Jered Brower, the door and floor manager at the club since it re-opened as Rome last year, is the new GM. He told me the club, “is all about moving forward towards a bigger and better future.”
Brower replaces former GM Pino Borelli, who had been in charge at Rome since its inception. He was fired over the weekend, prompting widespread chatter that Rome had, in fact, closed its doors.
Just how long Rome stays open, though, could depend on the fate of its liquor license — which is where things get complicated.
UPDATE: Today’s Bee has a bigger story on Rome’s booze shenanigans. You should read it. The general manager drops a number of gem quotes. Among them, he blames people being on medication and antidepressants, and ladies not being able to walk in high heels. Can’t make this stuff up.
ORIGINAL POST: Did you notice that everything seemed quiet over at Granite Park’s Rome Nightclub lately? So we knew this was coming. It was only a matter of time.
[T]he investigation into Club Rome’s possible violations began back in March, a month after it opened. It includes 16 allegations, like patrons fighting, urinating inside the club, vomiting because of consuming too much alcohol, and attacking a police officer. Fresno police met with the club owner to talk about the 42 times officers have had to respond to incidents.
Rome’s response? An ALL CAPS rant that said it would serve the suspension in December and then said the club the victim in all this.
Since it’s not often we get a major leaguer as famoustalented well-paid as Zito, we thought we’d offer some suggestions of stuff the quirky pitcher could do while he’s in town.
Buy those fields at Granite Park — he’s making $18.5 mil this year, he can afford it — and turn them into the home of the Zito League, a new baseball league where all the pitchers only throw curveballs.
Hit the Fulton Mall with his guitar and spend some time serenading the good people of Fresno.
Get out his camera (yep, he’s also a photog) and do some street photography with Fresno sharp shooter (and Giants fan) Ryan C. Jones.
Go hunting for teddy bears. Did you know that another of Zito’s quirks is his teddy-bear collection? True story. Dude can probably find some cool stuff on the Van Ness Ave. strip of thrift stores.
Decide to stay. The Giants don’t really need him and Fresno would be happy to have him. Heck, someday he could probably become mayor. In the meantime he could get himself a downtown loft, open a wacky boutique and have his own ArtHop show. He’d be a legit downtown Fresno hipster in no time.
With the long weekend behind us, hopefully people have had a chance to digest Club Rome, the new hotspot at Granite Park. Despite some opening-day chaos, the club opened its doors on Friday night and, from the look of things, had big crowds both Friday and Saturday. (If you missed it, here’s a good Bee story about the club’s opening, its ownership and how Kirk Vartanian swears he’s not a part of it.)
So what did you think about the new club? Was it everything it was hyped up to be? It already lasted longer than The Edge, do you think it showed more promise than Cabo Wabo? We’d love to hear your thoughts on Club Rome.
The celebrity guests on Friday night were rapper Traphik and “American Idol” contestant Andrew Garcia. Local celebs such as Kasey Kahl and Alicia Coates were there too. This coming Saturday, Justin Bobby from “The Hills” will be at Club Rome apparently. Club Rome will also have its first live music night on March 2. Details on that below.
Here are some photos from opening weekend by local photog Casper Munoz.
A new nightclub in the troubled Granite Park development will go ahead with its debut tonight despite a bungled attempt to firebomb the building this morning.
Club Rome, which is opening at the site of the failed Cabo Wabo and The Edge nightclubs in east-central Fresno, was the target of an arson attempt about 4 a.m. this morning, according to the Fresno Fire Department. Firefighters found flames at the front of the building and heavy smoke inside.
Club Rome employees were cleaning up damage this morning and entertainment director Lewis Everk said damage was minimal.
New life is coming to the old Cabo Wabo that eventually became the one-night-only Edge nightclub. It’s called Rome and, according to this flier that started circulating on Facebook this morning, it opens next weekend. Here’s hoping it can be avoid being a complete disaster like that space’s two previous incarnations.
I’ll try to get more info on what’s planned for Rome Nightclub soon.
Today, Hagar’s business manager sent this following statement to The Bee:
Sammy Hagar statement to the Fresno Bee — 10-18-10
“At this time I can’t comment on any of the specific claims brought in the frivolous legal papers filed by Milton Barbis, but anyone who has followed the issues of mismanagement around the entire Granite Park development will not be surprised to learn that the accusations are unfounded. I had hoped that this unhappy experience for me and my fans in the Fresno area was put to rest quite some time ago, but Mr. Barbis refuses to accept this.
“I have no doubt that my fans in Fresno understand this situation and know that no matter what, I love this town and the people in it. It was a great feeling to be back a couple of weeks ago to rock again with all the fans!! I am anxious for the facts to come to light on this situation, so we can all put this behind us and get back to what really matters — keeping the party rocking in Fresno.”
A big headline from today’s Bee, plucked right outta ridiculousville, is that Granite Park developer Barbis is suing Hagar, the famous rocker and Cabo Wabo namesake. For how much you ask? Oh, only 589 million. Ridiculousville.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, names a few others too, but the main target is Hagar, who was just in Fresno last week, playing at the fair. According to Barbis’ lawsuit, everything that went wrong with Fresno Wabo (spoiler alert: A LOT went wrong) was Sammy’s fault.
… they’ve taken over the old Public House restaurant and renovated it into two areas: a traditional Yosemite Falls in the back and a sports bar in the front. The sports bar has booths and lots of televisions — including an 80-incher, co-owner Manny Perales says.
Overall, the new space has about 190 seats inside and 100 on the patio. Compared to some of the other Yosemite Falls Cafes, this one is a little smaller.
…Expect the same menu as the other restaurants, with some new dishes. Highlights are oysters on the half shell, oysters Rockefeller and filet mignon tacos, Perales says.
Sandwiches and burgers are about $7, while dinner entrees are about $10-$16, he adds.
Hours are 6 a.m.-11 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays and 6 a.m.-midnight Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, call (559) 222-7800.
It’s often the mantra of interior decorators: A few improvements can make a big impression. I think it’s true for cities too. I know my drive to work (Hwy 168 to 180 to Fulton St.) is much nicer because of few changes in Fresno along the way.
I used to get aggravated along the 168 because of the rows of rotting trees left for dead in the fields of Granite Park. Several weeks ago the city cleaned up the area (photo below) and it really made a difference. Now, I see groomed fields in front of the former Cabo Wabo when I drive by. It’s not perfect — I know the buildings are abandoned — but at least there’s a sense that something can be made of the development. There are even a couple new businesses there. These fixes changed my impression. I no longer think decay. I think hope.
Apparently Fresno has gotten its fill of Las Vegas-styled nightlife, as Kirk Vartanian announced yesterday that The Edge space would be re-opening — but not as a nightclub, as a high-end French restaurant.
Here are some details from today’s story by George Hostetter of The Bee:
Vartanian said the restaurant will be called Le RÃªve — The Dream, in French — and will be owned and operated by Marty Krikorian, his nephew.
“I’m too busy,” Vartanian said. “I don’t have time to run a nightclub.”
Le RÃªve should open in 45 to 90 days, depending on when it receives a state liquor license, Vartanian said.
Vartanian emphasized that Le RÃªve, while it will have entertainment, is not a nightclub. He said the restaurant will be suitable for children as well as adults — “Anyone who wants a high-end meal.”
You know how some people probably shouldn’t use Twitter? Would-be jailbird nightclub mogul Kirk Vartanian is one of them. Apparently something is going on with K-Vart and The Edge, but from reading his recent Tweets, we can’t figure out what it is:
Kirk has experience with hilarious Tweets. This one above (notice he didn’t spell Edge correctly) he’s been posting for the last few days. He clarified slightly yesterday:
If your answer to that question is “really fast,” then consider testing your pizza-eating chops Sunday at Me-n-Ed’s first pizza eating contest happening at Victory Grill. It’s sorta like the hot dog eating contest held at Coney Island Grill in July — expect this is part of a big celebration for National Pizza Month, which is October.
The contest will be held on Sunday, October 4, 2009, starting at 4:00 pm at Me-n-Ed’s Victory Grill. We’re taking the first 50 contestants to show us what they’ve got. That means YOU! So, act fast, time is running out for your chance to win the title of Me-n-Ed’s Fastest Pizza Eater of the Year and some great prizes. If you don’t think YOU can finish a whole pizza, recruit someone you know to compete and come support them!
Fresno businessman/Granite Park dreamer Kirk Vartanian was officially arraigned today on assault charges. The Bee’s Craig Kohlruss snapped this picture of Vartanian, who looked none too happy to be there:
No offense to Craig, but I thought the photo could be livened up a bit, so I went over to Blingee.com and came up with this:
Here’s a recap of a weekend dripping with drama. Tell us about your weekend adventures in the comments.
I took on a last-minute DJ gig at Palomino’s, which wouldn’t have been all that noteworthy except the owner of Red Zone Sports Grill showed up to speak with me during my set. He was calm and apologetic, saying he had never actually heard the now-controversial ad until things erupted last week. Overall, there wasn’t as much tension as you’d expect — except for when his nephew came and told me I should do my “research” because Red Zone has two gay employees. I shut that down like Liz Lemon.
The big news on Saturday was that local businessman Kirk Vartanian (aka the guy who opened The Edge) had been arrested on Friday night. Vartanian (pictured above) even got a special Saturday press conference from Fresno PD to talk about the allegations of assault and felony domestic violence.
The Bee’s Tim Sheehan wrote a pretty thorough story on the arrest. Vartanian reached out to ABC-30 from jail to tell his side of the story, which included this choice quote: “I’m trying to help the City of Fresno. If I am going to keep getting negative things happening to me, I am not going to help Granite Park.”
It was a pretty huge weekend around Fresno — here are some updates. Where did your weekend adventures take ya? Tell us in the comments.
It took a last-minute, one-night-only liquor license and round-the-clock work, but The Edge pulled everything together in order to open Friday night as promised. I wasn’t there, but all reports say there was a good crowd. Kim Kardashian has pics on her blog and local photog Casper Munoz has loads on his site like the one above. Who was there? Was it worth what you paid?
On another Edge note: Owner Kirk Vartanian said on Friday that the club would be closed for two more weeks to finish the remodeling. Then on Saturday, he changed course and said it would be open Thurs-Sat as an 18-and-over, no-booze spot until the remodeling is done and the club gets its permanent liquor license. (Side note: Props to ABC30 for the funniest thing I saw this weekend).