Belicoso Cigars and Cafe (Website | Instagram) announced Thursday that it will be closing its location at 1618 N. Mills Avenue (MAP) in the Mills50 District. The last day of operations will be Saturday, August 15th.
The restaurant and bar opened there December 2019 after moving from its original location at 334 N. Park Ave (MAP) in Winter Park where it had resided for four years.
The owners said in an email that despite taking all necessary measures to maintain positive cash flow to keep the business solvent, they were "unable to renegotiate a lease agreement with their landlord that would allow us to continue operating through these unfavorable and unpredictable business conditions."
From now til closing day visitors can find specials on cigars and bottled liquors. The facility's furniture and equipment is also for sale.
Belicoso's space was formerly occupied by Four Rebels American Taco Bar & Kitchen and Segafredo. It's located in Mills Park, a 14.5 acre shopping development at the corner of Virginia and Mills in the Mills50 District.
Belicoso's full email is below.
As you are aware, the Coronavirus pandemic has created an unprecedented human and emotional toll as well as a far-reaching economic devastation around the world. Since you have been a loyal customer or vendor, or taken a personal interest in our company and believing in our dream and capabilities, we wanted to bring you up to date on Belicoso Cigars and Café and how we have tried to navigate this crisis.
Belicoso opened its doors at its new location on Mills Ave. on December 14, 2019. Our January and February numbers were strong, and we were 22% ahead of our Year 1 forecast for those months. March started strong, until the media started in earnest warning about COVID-19, and the local government started talking about stay at home orders. As early as mid-March we started noticing that patrons were more hesitant in coming out in public places and specifically bar/restaurant settings. The following events started having a significant impact on our business:
Beginning March 17th - Governor DeSantis orders all bars and restaurants closed,
March 22nd - mandatory lockdown by the Orange County Commissioner and City of Orlando,
March 24th - Stay-at-home-orders issued,
June 4th - re-opening restrictions for restaurants and bars. Despite implementing OSHA/CDC practices by increased cleaning and sanitizing procedures, limited seating to allow for social distancing, hand sanitizers, mandatory masks usage by staff, as well as implementing phone and on-line order scenarios, the rapidly increasing COVID-19 cases in Central Florida severely affected traffic and revenue.
Despite taking all necessary measures to maintain positive cash flow and keep our business solvent, we have been unable to renegotiate a lease agreement with our Landlord that would allow us to continue operating through these unfavorable and unpredictable business conditions. Therefore, we are announcing that our last day of operations at Mills 50 will be Saturday, August 15, 2020 at 10:00 PM, 2020. We will be running great specials until then on all cigars, bottled liquors, and any/all furniture and equipment etc and we invite you to stop by and stock up. This has been a very difficult time for Josh and I and our families, as we have invested significantly in this business, and poured our heart and soul in growing it over the last four years. We know you also believed in us and supported us in this journey, from our small shop on Park Ave. to this fantastic location on Mills Ave. We still pray for a chance to restructure or return to build the business we established with so much potential and positive reception earlier this year. We have not given up, we are still fighting to keep this business afloat, but wanted to bring you up to speed. This is painful and heartbreaking, but most importantly, we are grateful that we are healthy and safe. To close, we leave you with this: "In the end, the good guys always win. If not, it is not the end."