Stephen Moore and his wife, Danielle, are huge jazz fans but finding jazz venues lacking in Savannah forced them to go elsewhere for their music fixes.
After one earlier venture as a silent partner on Broughton Street, he is preparing to re-open 107 W. Broughton Street with the Good Times Jazz Bar & Restaurant to bring his dream to life. His plan includes bringing great Southern fare, fine wines and the best in jazz into a sophisticated atmosphere in Savannah’s downtown.
“I just didn’t want the building to go to waste,” Moore said of the property he has owned since 2005. ”I’ve just been taking my time to be sure we do it right.”
He obtained his alcohol license on Aug. 31 from the Savannah City Council and is working to hire and train people to carry out the day-to-day function.
Moore expects to open within six weeks at the new venue between Whitaker and Barnard streets, he said, following a couple of soft openings.
The property is the former site of the Aurora Stained Glass and later the Kokopellis’ Jazz Club. Moore was a silent partner in that venture that closed in 2007.
He is not alone in his newest venture.
Moore has enlisted Savannah Chef Joe Randall as a consultant, drawing the cooking icon out of “retirement” after a 17-year career as chef and Southern food trainer.
Recalling Randall’s cooking school on Waters Avenue, Moore said he contacted Randall for help with his project.
For Randall, it was a chance to continue with his unique skills at Southern cooking.
“He called me and asked me to come and talk to him about opening,” Randall recalled of an April conversation with Moore. “I told him if it’s just a bar you don’t need me.”
The two met, Randall weighed in and they were on their way.
Randall said the three-story building will provide a bar with 90 seats on the ground floor, a bar and restaurant to seat about 150 on the second floor and an office lounge and bar on the third floor.
Randall said he will hire and train the staff
“I’ll be around to protect my cooking,” he said. “I’m just not going to be there 100 hours a week as the executive chef.”
“It’s the food I’ve served at the cooking school for the past 17 years and it appeals to my customers who I believe will turn out for the new venture,” Randall said.
And Moore said he has enlisted Savannah native and trombonist/composer Teddy Adams to put together a local group and help in booking entertainment.
Adams, who said he has been playing for “probably 60 years” and training young musicians, was a longtime friend of the late Savannah jazz icon Ben Tucker. Together they worked to revitalize the jazz period in Savannah starting in the mid-1970s, he said.
Both are members of the Savannah Jazz Hall of Fame.
“We’re going to be dealing with local, regional and national talent,” Adams said, adding that, Moore “is going to need something like a house band. I’m going to put a group together of the better musicians here.”