Cabo Wabo Leaving

December 12, 2008 8:12:58 PM PST
Cabo Wabo Cantina is saying adios to Fresno after Rocker Sammy Hagar pulled his licensing agreement from the owner and developer. But the owner says he's not worried about the split.The sign on the wall here says where the land ends and the party begins. The party didn't last long and the owner says he's pleased to move on in a new direction.

The Cabo Wabo Cantina is leaving Fresno?The signs and paintings will soon be gone and owner and developer Milt Barbis says the restaurant and bar will be even better without Sammy Hagar.

Owner and Developer Milt Barbis said, "I wish Sammy and the Cabo Wabo brand and the cantina the best and there are no hard feelings and I hope he wishes us the best. The one thing I can tell you and everybody else is we'll be here. Come and see it. Come and see the transformation because it will be happening over a period of time."

Barbis won't get specific about what went wrong and why Hagar decided to end his licensing agreement in Fresno.

Hagar issued a statement late Thursday saying quote "I have always stood for providing an exceptional experience for my fans and associating myself with likeminded business partners. If the owners of the current license in Fresno intend to keep the location open and change the concept to something entirely different, it will no longer be under the Cabo Wabo brand."

Some employees say financial troubles have plagued the restaurant since the day it opened.

Employees who talked to Action News but didn't want to be identified say several paychecks have bounced and many paychecks were only partial pay.

"We've actually not had to go to the banks, we've had to go to Wal-Mart to cash our checks and actually Wal-Mart started catching on saying our checks have been bouncing so Wal-Mart won't cash the Cabo checks anymore."

Barbis will not talk money, he says he is bound by a confidentiality agreement.

He will say he expects the new place will be more profitable and cater to a wide array of musical tastes.

"We're going to have everything from pop and rock and roll to country to rhythm and blues. You're going to have jazz acts. You are going to have professional groups from every genre around."

Next week Barbis plans to announce the new name of the restaurant. He says it will be open the entire time it's getting a new facelift. He says he's already booked bands through March.

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