Blue Llama Pauses Its Food Services
But the music continues online.
From the February, 2021 issue
In the first months of the pandemic, Blue LLama Jazz Club at 314 S. Main turned its kitchen into a pop-up incubator for different types of cuisine.
They included Jibarito, with Latin-inspired dishes; Of Rice & Men, which became a separate restaurant next door to Blue LLama with an Asian-themed menu (Marketplace Changes, September 2020); and most recently, Blue LLama transformed the jazz club's menu into A Trip to Paris, which offered twists on traditional French dishes.
But Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's mid-'November pandemic pause forced restaurants to close indoor dining. Left to rely on carryout and delivery, Blue LLama decided put its entire food-service operation on hold until warm weather arrives. At the end of December, it announced on Facebook that it was suspending operations at the jazz club and Of Rice & Men, and the delivery food it offered through Jibarito.
"We're not closing permanently. We mean too much to each other to just say good-bye," said the Facebook post, which was signed by proprietor Don Hicks, chef Louis Goral, artistic director Dave Sharp, and culinary arts staff Adrian Estrada, Josh Wetshtein, and Ava Yau.
According to the post, they plan to reopen Blue LLama and Of Rice when each can operate at full capacity, "safely and properly." That is likely to be spring or summer, the post said, "but like our musicians, we're playing this tune by ear. We'll let you know as soon as we know." And it promised that Of Rice & Men "is already working on spectacular new tastes that showcase our respect for and love of the diversity that is Asian cuisine. You've only sampled our amuse bouche. Wait until you taste the next course."
The club's performance side, however, continues online. A ticketed livestream performance series was scheduled to premiere in late January. Patrons can purchase tickets for the seventy-five-minute concert alone or a VIP package that includes meet-and-greet opportunities conducted via Zoom.
The concert on Jan. 30 features the Diego Rivera Quintet, headed by Ann Arbor native and Michigan State professor Diego Rivera, whose parents named him after the famous Mexican muralist. Tickets can be purchased at mandolin.com.
[Originally published in February, 2021.]
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