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Ann Arbor’s Blue LLama Jazz Club entertainment venue, restaurant goes on break

Spring, summer 2021 named as possible reopening time

Tables at Blue LLama Jazz Club sit right up against the stage for unobstructed views of entertainment. Photo | Sarah M. Parlette
Tables at Blue LLama Jazz Club sit right up against the stage for unobstructed views of entertainment. Photo | Sarah M. Parlette

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Blue LLama Jazz Club is temporarily closing its doors and going on hiatus for the foreseeable future

In a message from proprietor Don Hicks and Blue LLama Jazz Club senior management on Monday afternoon, the restaurant/ jazz venue announced that it and its sister concepts were going on a break for a few months.

The venue pivoted over the course of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to offer virtual music events and its pop-up concepts; Blue LLama Express, Jibarito, Of Rice and Men and Chef Ava’s Bakery. In July, Of Rice and Men grew into its own eatery, Of Rice and Men Modern Asian Bistro, located next to Blue LLama Jazz Club along downtown Main Street.

“We’re not closing permanently. We mean too much to each other to just say good-bye. Thanks to your support, you’ve made the Blue LLama one of the brightest stars in the sheltering indigo sky of jazz venues. Ann Arbor is a major destination for jazz artists again” Blue LLama leadership said in a message on the business’s website.

“We’ve created something special together, our love of fantastic food, amazing wine and cocktails, excellent service and amazing music have kept us going in 2020. We look forward to continuing this tradition into the future.”

The message thanks patrons of the restaurants, and urges the musicians who have entertained its guests to stay safe and keep playing. Blue LLama management told employees they deserved a standing ovation for their work and teased about future offerings at Of Rice and Men.

Both venues are likely to reopen in the spring or summer of 2021 once they can operate safely at full capacity, according to the message.

Blue LLama Jazz Club is at 314 S. Main St.

To our dear Blue LLama guests, musicians, friends, family, and all those with whom we’ve shared drinks, bites, jams and...

Posted by Blue LLama Jazz Club on Monday, December 28, 2020

Read the full message below:

“To our dear Blue LLama guests, musicians, friends, family, and all those with whom we’ve shared drinks, bites, jams and good times together.

We’re writing to let you know that the Blue LLama Jazz Club, Jibarito and Of Rice & Men Modern Asian Bistro have decided to take a break for a few months.

We’re not closing permanently. We mean too much to each other to just say good-bye. Thanks to your support, you’ve made the Blue LLama one of the brightest stars in the sheltering indigo sky of jazz venues. Ann Arbor is a major destination for jazz artists again. We’ve created something special together, our love of fantastic food, amazing wine and cocktails, excellent service and amazing music have kept us going in 2020. We look forward to continuing this tradition into the future.

Many of you have been thrilled at the delicious dishes that Of Rice and Men served up over the last few months. 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.

For the musicians that have graced the Blue LLama stage, we know how hard this difficult time has been for you. The community loves you, and we all want you to stay safe. Keep at your art and we’ll open up our stage just as soon as we can.

To the employees of the Blue LLama and Of Rice and Men: you’ve done everything right. Each one of you has served your guests with class and distinction. We’re so proud of you. You’ve shown our community what it means to be professionals under the most challenging circumstances. You deserve a standing ovation.

These are unprecedented times; we have to be smart so we can be here for you over the long term. Our plan is to reopen the Blue LLama and Of Rice & Men as soon as we can operate at full capacity, safely and properly. We figure that’s going to be in spring or summer of 2021, but like our musicians, we’re playing this tune by ear. We’ll let you know as soon as we know.

Take care of yourselves, and we’ll be back for the second set after a short break. We already miss you too much to stay away long.

Don Hicks, Proprietor

Louis Goral, Head of Restaurants

Dave Sharp, Artistic Director

Adrian Estrada, Josh Wetshtein, and Ava Yau, Culinary Arts”


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