Colorado investor backs out of deal to buy Frida's

The restaurant owners will continue running the business for now while looking for a new buyer.

Published June 9, 2006

The prominent Old Seminole Heights restaurant Viva La Frida lives on, at least for now.

Owners Angelica Diaz and John Ames expected to close a deal to sell the restaurant at 5901 N Florida Ave. last week, but the main investor, who Ames said lives in Colorado and never came out to see the site, pulled out at the last minute. So Diaz and Ames will keep Viva La Frida open "at least for the next couple of months,'' Ames said.

"It looked like it was a deal, but it fell through so we had to shift gears,'' Ames said. "I already had most of (June) booked with music and events, but had canceled them. Now I'm scrambling to get everybody back.

"I had already taken out all the art. It was a deal. We were going to sign the contract and get the check.''

The restaurant would have become a sports bar, Ames said. The new owner would have bought the business but not the site.

Even if a new buyer comes along quickly, a deal would take at least two months to complete, Ames said.

While Diaz "has been wanting to get out'' of the business, Ames said he would consider staying if he could find a partner to revamp the restaurant, which was inspired by Mexican painter Frida Kahlo and her work.

"The restaurant is (Diaz's) theme, so if I was to partner with somebody, the name would be different,'' he said. "We'd change a lot of things, but I'd still want to maintain the stage, the space and (have) art.''

For now, Viva La Frida is serving dinner only from 5 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and from 5 to 10 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. A jazz band is scheduled to perform on Thursdays.