Old-timers will remember this spot as the home of another restaurant and bar combination: Harper’s Tavern and Le Cordon Bleu. Harpers was one of the oldest bars in the region, including a history as a speakeasy during Prohibition. Le Cordon Bleu was one of the few fine-dining restaurants in Central Florida, a place to get dressed up for a fancy French meal. Both businesses had an abrupt end in 1996 when a fire gutted the structure. Following restoration, new businesses occupied the space -- including, in 2002, one called Harper’s Tavern and Grill, that was nothing but a disappointment. The following year it became Coyote Grill and Sports Bar. Most recently it was an O’boys barbecue restaurant.
Tremblay is trying both to recreate the old Harper’s atmosphere and reinvent it. For starters, he has re-closed walls that had been removed to open the bar and restaurant into one big space. The separate names for the two entities will also reinforce that idea, although technically both will operate under the same license.