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Saturday, October 17, 2015
Hogan's Beach Out of Business?
Hogan's Beach, the Courtney Campbell Causeway restaurant and bar named after wrestling legend Hulk Hogan, is expected to be re-branded and renamed, ending its association with Hogan, the restaurant's owner said Friday.
The closure of an eatery closely tied to Hulk Hogan's larger-than-life persona is the latest blow to the pro-wrestling star who earlier this year apologized after a videotape transcript surfaced showing him making a racist rant.
Owner Ben Mallah, a real estate investor, said the restaurant and adjacent Best Western-Bay Harbor-Tampa hotel are being sold with a closure pending in the near future. He said no sale is guaranteed until closing. But Mallah earlier expressed no uncertainty in saying Hogan's Beach and the hotel would be re-branded.
Mallah, who did not identify the potential buyer, said the changes have nothing to do with Hogan's troubles.
"We've had a two-and-a-half-year run with that brand," said Mallah, noting the restaurant has done well. "It's time for a new brand. Everything changes."
Hogan, 62, a Tampa native whose real name is Terry Bollea, could not be reached for comment. Mallah said Hogan licenses his name to the facility but has no ownership interest.
Hogan's Beach, which opened on New Year's Eve 2012, is still open and serving customers under that name, and Mallah said he could not yet provide a timetable for the changeover.
The restaurant has had something of a turbulent history with complaints of rowdy concerts and parties with frequent noise complaints by neighbors, though the noise has abated in recent months.
But a bigger issue for the restaurant might simply have been Hogan's tarnished reputation after the release of the transcript, which showed him using the n-word.
The transcript is tied to a secretly recorded sex tape involving Hogan and Heather Cole, the ex-wife of radio shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem that is part of a $100 million lawsuit Hogan has filed against Gawker, which put an excerpt of the tape online.
Contact William R. Levesque at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @Times_Levesque.