After ten years off from the restaurant business, Tim Finnegan is back, taking over the Black Cloud Saloon on US 1 in Bunnell. Last night’s Grand Opening brought hundreds of supporters.
PALM COAST, FL – July 11, 2015 – Shirley and I were at the Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting for Tim Finnegan’s Black Cloud Saloon last night. We had been longtime fans of original owner John Seibel’s Black Cloud Saloon, attending most Tuesday’s for happy hour and light eating with a group of 15 to 20 friends. We sometimes stayed to enjoy the swing band that played each Tuesday.
Last year, after John semi-retired by leasing the business to another party, the atmosphere at The Black Cloud went downhill quickly. The new operator planned to convert the Black Cloud into sort of a sports bar. They took down the several large mounted animal heads and replaced them with TVs.
The new operator quickly fired some of our favorite servers. Other long-term employees simply quit. The food quality and service deteriorated almost overnight. Apparently cash flow was a problem from the start with employees waiting to be paid. They were often out of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, which is not much different than Chik fil A being out of chicken.
The straw that broke my Tuesday group’s back was the night they brought a BLT on a hamburger bun because they were out of bread. We were told that they had just run out of bacon too. That was our last Tuesday there, though I stopped by occasionally to check on John.
Eventually, he was able to extricate himself from the tenant (I should call her “LESS-e). John’s light at the end of the tunnel turned out to be Tim Finnegan, who opened his first bar 30 years ago in Flagler Beach but left the restaurant/bar business ten years ago and knew John and the Black Cloud Saloon well.
Last night’s ribbon cutting was a real party with hundreds of Black Cloud fans and Finnegan followers from all socioeconomic backgrounds, mixing together as if they all lived on the same block. The TVs were gone. The stuffed animal heads and international flags were back. A few of our favorite former Black Cloud staff were back. And so too was the fun we remembered.
The bar and restaurant will offer a full menu and liquor bar, as well as live entertainment. They will offer Happy Hour Drink Specials Monday through Friday and themed days such as Old Timers Day, Ladies Night, and Thurs Night Line Dancing and Country Night. There will be six blackboard specials daily and just a sampling of their menu items and specials include; Prime Rib night, Fish, Shrimp, or Steak Taco night, Meatloaf night, Italian night, All You Can Eat Fish Fry night, Southern Specials such as fried green tomatoes, fried pickle spears, Santa Fe Mexican Eggrolls, 12 different style of wings – Boneless Wings, Traditional, Buffalo, Thai Chilly wings, Kicking Korean, Chipotle, Jamaican Jerk, Amazing Cajun, Eduardo’s Pizza, Are You Berry Nut Salad, French Dip Sandwich with Prime Rib, Southern BLT with fried green tomatoes, NY Style Corn Beef Sandwich, Reuben Sandwich, 6 and 12 oz Rib Eye Steak Sandwich, Grouper Sandwiches, Finnegan’s Grilled Cheese – deep fried and dipped in a sweet pancake batter, The Driving Miss Daisy Southern Burger, Fish and Chips with Cod Fish, Key Lime pie, NY Style Cheesecake, Deep Fried Twinkies and Deep Fried Oreos, and more.
Finnegan’s Black Cloud Saloon is located at 2335 N. State St. in Bunnell. They are open Monday through Thursday 11:00am until 12:00am, Friday and Saturday 11:00am until 2:00am, and Sunday 11:00am until 12:00am. They can be reached via phone at 386-437-3173, or online at www.finnegansblackcloudsaloon.com, or https://www.facebook.com/finnegansblackcloud.
Finnegan said that the City of Bunnell has been bent over backwards to assist in the opening of the business. “We are so grateful to everyone at the City and can’t thank them enough,” said Finnegan.
Blue, another well-known restaurant that had closed, this one in Flagler Beach, was recently resurrected when it was reopened as Island Grille. The new owners are local restaurateurs Joe Rizzo and Chris Zwirn, former Blue chef, Gary Maresca, Carla Cline and Realtor®, David Alfin. (David and I co-host Real Estate Matters on WNZF News Radio each Sunday at 9:00 A.M.)