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Old Hyde Park's Wine Exchange will soon pour its last glass

By ALEXANDRA ZAYAS
Published May 9, 2007


TAMPA - The Wine Exchange Bistro, a Hyde Park Village staple for 17 years, has met the same fate as its former neighbor, Sunrise Cinemas. It will close.

The restaurant was slated to move into a new restaurant row in the building that formerly held the Cactus Club, leaving its old location to make way for a condominium tower. It planned to expand seating and its menu.

The move was part of a bigger plan to revitalize Hyde Park after Wasserman Real Estate Capital became controlling owner in 2005. But within the past week, Wine Exchange owner Mark Smith decided the move wouldn't work out.

"There were good-faith efforts by both parties to continue the presence of the Wine Exchange in Old Hyde Park. But ultimately the decision was made by myself, and that was to cease operations, " Smith said. "The rest is sort of personal."

Smith declined to comment on whether the August closing of Sunrise Cinemas influenced his decision. But he did say several factors influenced him, including "the current situation, as far as our likelihood of being successful in Hyde Park Village."

Smith said that his employees had known that closing was a possibility for some time.

He hasn't made any plans to reopen in another location. He wants people to remember the restaurant in a positive way.

"It's been a very good 17 years, and the past is what I look at with great comfort and great joy, " he said. "We've been fortunate enough to have a lot of the same people for so many years that we really feel like a family, and we'll miss that."

The Wine Exchange will serve its last customers Tuesday.

Alexandra Zayas can be reached at 813 226-3354 or azayas@sptimes.com.

Fast Facts:

Tonight at the Wine Exchange

The restaurant, at 1611 W Swann Ave., will host an art exhibit featuring a dozen artists and live music from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. The event was planned before the owner decided to close the restaurant. For more information, call (813) 254-9463.