Friday, September 13, 2013

[Suburbia Lost] Bahama Breeze - Springdale

A restaurant that once claimed to deliver the "feeling of a Caribbean Escape" now delivers the feeling of an abandoned island restaurant tucked between I-275 and and Rt. 4 in the north suburbs of Cincinnati.

- Peering through the window.

I grew up a few exits down the highway, but I don't like and have never liked seafood. I never went here, but I remember my parents did. "Bahama Breeze" was some kind of casual, pseudo upscale, polo shirt encouraged but nice jeans acceptable restaurant. 

Judging from the decor I can't tell if it was designed to look like the night club from "Top Gun:"

The bar from "Cool Runnings:"

Or if it was just playing off the fact that people from the Cincinnati area generally worship Jimmy Buffet and his brand of "island escapism:"

For the record, I like Jimmy Buffet's music about as much as I like seafood.

Although I don't have a palate for seafood and detest the synthetic "suburban island culture" of Jimmy Buffet's songs that was portrayed here, the restaurant seemed to be pretty successful. I always heard my parents hold the place in high regard and according to online reviews the place was excellent, highly rated and always crowded. One online review gave it five stars despite the recounting of an apparently awful date for "Valerie G." Let's have a read...
So my first experience here - I went on a date with this pretentious asshat, but the thing was that he didn't really have a right to be pretentious cause he lived in Hamilton, Ohio and spent most of his time making brochures with neon colors and I'm pretty sure hadn't been to a single museum. He was a kind of guy that had this false sense of entitlement and was over-compensating. I'm pretty sure this restaurant was full of people like that. The type that would eat there and think "Look how cultured I am!!! I'm eating piaia on a Friday night next to I-275!!!"  - Valerie G. via Yelp

The restaurant shut its doors sometime in 2007 and its been sitting abandoned ever since. Another review from the same Yelp page described that this location was closed along with 20 others by parent company Darden Restaurants in order to appease shareholders. 

Almost everything is still inside waiting for someone to reopen it.

It even had a gas powered "fire pit" outside where you could sip a cool drink and feel the cool island breeze of the nearby freeway.

And for your protection, the restaurant apparently employed a private security firm that placed "Big Brother" esque signs all around the restaurant.

Even with Jimmy Buffet's restaurant downtown, you'd think someone would come along and reopen it with a Buffet cover band playing every weekend - how would you not make money in the suburbs with that business model?

Suburbia Lost is an ongoing documentation of decay in the sphere of a perceived paradise. After years of photographing abandoned, forgotten, and often historical locations in the city, this project aims to take a look at how structures fare in the sphere of suburbia. You can view other entires in the project, here


  1. Sounds like the brochure designer wasn't the only pretentious asshat on that date. LOL!

  2. I remember eating here on numerous occasions as I lived right up the street. It was a really great restaurant with delicious food and a nice atmosphere. Everytime I went it was always busy and I cant remember any times when my family and I didn't have to wait for a table. I wonder why it closed down.

  3. Went there 1 time.. I too don't like see food, and had a hamburger.. it was terrible.. then a month later, the place closed