Fork Dork: Blue Martini to Open at The Shops at The Bravern

National bar chain will open at The Shops at The Bravern while the existing tenants anticipate a new owner.

Blue Martini, the West Palm Beach, Fla.-based, cocktail lounge chain, will be opening its newest location as early as mid- to late January at in downtown Bellevue. Blue Martini will open on the third level next to .

“I think it's gorgeous out here,” said Dominic Lebaron, the new general manager at The Bravern location of Blue Martini. "Everyone has been very nice. Bellevue is very clean. Anybody that would want to open a club, they like to go to new cities that are up and coming.

“It has the perfect demographic we are looking for. You walk the streets of Bellevue and it is filled with young business professionals. This is ideal.”

Lebaron said Blue Martini generally attracts young professionals, leaning to a slightly older crowd than the crowd at neighboring .

“I like Munchbar. I think it's a cool concept,” Lebaron said. “Bellevue has a lot of really nice spots. I hope more come to Bellevue. “

Blue Martini has 10 other locations, including eight in Florida and one each in Las Vegas and Phoenix. All the Blue Martini locations are in shopping malls. Blue Martini hopes to open another lounge in Dallas and locations in Dubai and Abu Dhabi next year, according to Lebaron, who worked at the Tampa, Fla., location for four years before transferring to Bellevue to help open the new lounge at The Bravern.

Lebaron said the new Blue Martini will be open seven days a week as early as 4 p.m. on weekdays and 1 p.m. on weekends and closing as late as 2 a.m. nightly. It will feature live bands and DJs every night.

The main attraction will be a live music stage lined across the front by a full service bar. Lebaron expects to book DJs spinning Top 40 music and cover bands. The Bravern Blue Martini will also feature a VIP Bar and two private VIP rooms as well as a covered patio.

The bar will feature 42 different martinis, including its signature Blue Martini made with Blue Curacao. Lebaron expects the food menu to nod heavily toward seafood, with some turf dishes. The menu will include Ahi tuna, lobster salad, revolving preparations of cod and salmon, crab cakes and shrimp cocktail, as well as pork tenderloin, beef tenderloin, lemon pepper chicken, baked brie and a charcuterie board.

Business as usual after The Shops at The Bravern announce sale

Tenants at The Shops at The Bravern said they don’t expect much change in their operations after its owners Schnitzer West announced last week they are putting up their retail section of the building for sale. In fact, if Schnitzer West and its partner Investcorp do not find an appropriate suitor they will not sell their retail operation, Schnitzer West said in a statement.

No listing price has been set for the 309,000-square foot retail operation, including the 125,000-square-foot anchor . About 85 percent of the retail space is occupied, according to Colleen Moffitt, a spokeswoman for the Shops at Bravern. Schnitzer West sold The Bravern Office Commons in 2010 for $410 million.

Jennifer Shea, proprietor of at The Bravern, signed a 10-year lease beginning at the building’s opening in September 2009.

“When I first heard it, I was a little surprised,” said Shea of last week’s sale announcement. "Then I heard it was common for developers to open a place and then sell it.

“We have a lease. I am assuming whoever ends up buying it will take over the lease and will be business as usual.”

Shea hopes the shakeup will spur more traffic at The Bravern.

“Maybe (new owners) will have a new approach to bring in more tenants. Perhaps, it will be a good thing. We wish The Bravern was busier than it is. I just think it has a little too much vacancy for a place that can have great foot traffic. We love our location, we just wish we had more foot traffic.”

Jake Kosseff, director of operations and wine director for , said he does not anticipate many changes if The Bravern sells.

“We don’t think we are going to see much of a change from it. As far as we are concerned we are very happy with the management (Schnitzer West),” Kosseff said. “The space is gorgeous. We love being here. The location was a little bit of a challenge at the beginning because it was out of the daily routine of the local clientele. We are seeing a lot more traffic now. We knew it was going to take a while to build business.”

11/11/11 special for $11.11 at Z’Tejas

in Bellevue Square will donate $1 to Vet Tix from the sales of their special, “A BUD AND A BURGER,” a blue cheese burger with fries and a Budweiser selling for $11.11 on Friday, Nov. 11. Vet Tix is a national nonprofit organization that provides military personnel and their families free tickets to concerts, sporting events and other activities.

Mercato Stellina opening delayed

The has been delayed for at least another week. Publicist Gene Dexter said Mercato Stellina won’t open until at least Nov. 18. as scheduled this Friday, Nov. 11.


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