Source: Naples Daily News
Tilted Kilt, Belushi’s Comedy Bar shutting down due to declining restaurant sales
A Fort Myers comedy club has had its last laugh, at least for now, and the restaurant below it has closed effective immediately.
Belushi’s Comedy Bar – housed above the Tilted Kilt in a castle-looking building along U.S. 41 – has ended its 13-month run as a standup venue.
Its owners – including actor and comedian Jim Belushi – announced the decision in a letter sent out late New Year’s Day.
DOCUMENT:Read the letter from Tilted Kilt.
“The Tilted Kilt located in Fort Myers will close its doors due to declining sales over the last 12 months,” stated letter on Tilted Kilt letterhead stated.
Camala Krause, marketing director, emailed it late Friday. She was unavailable for comment Saturday.
“This also means that the highly successful Belushi’s Comedy Bar will be forced to temporarily cancel its shows.”
Refunds for advance tickets already were issued, the letter said.
The letter went on to state that negotiations are underway with Tilted Kilt’s corporate office and another Tilted Kilt franchisee to buy the Fort Myers venue.
“Their plans would be to reopen the Kilt with some renovations, new menu, uniforms and more.”
Tilted Kilt waitresses wore low-cut white blouses and short Scottish plaid skirts.
If someone else buys the second-floor Belushi’s, it would remain open until late April and would relocate at that time, the letter said.
“Creating a new brand by the current partners is also being considered,” Krause’s letter said.
“A brand that would enhance the Belushi’sComedy Bar. In this case, Belushi’s would reopen along with the new brand downstairs. Jim Belushi is currently reviewing the options and wants to be certain that it would be a restaurant that would serve the comedy guests and the local community offering something very special.”
Belushi’s opened in April 2014 above Tilted Kilt, 13851 U.S. 41 S., which opened a month earlier. Belushi’s began as primarily a music club but transitioned into November 2014 into just a comedy club.
The club booked regional and national comedians usually for shows Thursday through Saturday. Tickets cost $15 online and $20 at the door. Belushi’s often was filled for the standup acts, drawing patrons from throughout Southwest Florida.
Belushi tapped friends to help with the comedy club’s menu – Southwest Florida chef Charles Mereday and nationally restauranteur Guy Fieri. Food items included small, tasty cheeseburgers, battered mushrooms and pub pretzels served with Guinness cheddar sauce.
The venture was something Belushi and his cousin, Chris Karakosta, had planned for a while. Photos of John Belushi adorn Belushi’s walls, along with decor and photos of the late actor and his Blues Brothers sidekick, Dan Aykroyd.
Neither owner was available for comment Saturday.
“I had a vision of what the club should look like and I love comics,” Jim Belushi told the Daily News in a May 2015 interview.
Karakosta said in the same interview that they went to just standup to build the “Belushi brand.”
“It’s working, it’s definitely profitable,” Karakosta said at the time of the comedy-only format.
“Everybody loves to laugh,” Belushi added.
Belushi also said he hoped to bring in bigger name comics, including longtime friend Kevin Nealon of “Saturday Night Live” fame. Longtime SNL cast member Tim Meadows also was scheduled to perform there in November but his shows were canceled.
Instead, Meadows is booked next weekend at the more well-established Off The Hook Comedy Club in North Naples.
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