"We'll miss Rumba. I'm really proud of what we've done there," Sheffer said. He cited Rumba's location as one reason the company decided not to sign a five-year lease renewal."West End's great, but it's becoming more of a corporate thoroughfare," he said.
(Rumba is a small regional restaurant group, a member of the Nashville Originals independent restaurant organization, and we presume it doesn't have the deep pockets of some of the large chains that have staked out spots on bustling West End in recent years.)
Rumba's closing, announced to employees before dinner service Monday night, came as a bit of a shock to foodies and fans of the bar menu of lush, exotic cocktails.
Just last month, Bites' Chris Chamberlain wrote about Rumba's weekly Mojito Mondays event, saying, "Rumba has long been one of my favorite places in town to eat and drink. With their inventive menu of small plates, flatbreads, sandwiches and exotic larger dishes, Rumba is a great place to meet friends and share an international culinary tour together."
Scene restaurant critic Carrington Fox raved after a visit to Rumba in 2008.
The good news is some of Rumba's most popular items — including, of course the mojitos — will eventually appear on Jackson's menu. Sheffer named the chivitos, the spring-rolled quesadilla and Rumba's signature nachos as menu favorites that will move to Jackson's, which he said continues to thrive.
"Jackson's is staying solid in the Village," he said.
Sheffer also mentioned that while the group's most recent projects have been in Birmingham, he hopes to eventually open another restaurant in the Nashville area.
"Nashville is where our roots are, and Nashville's got so much going on," Sheffer said. "We're looking around."
Meanwhile, he said Rumba will continue to operate full steam ahead until Sept. 30, a Sunday. "I told our staff we want to end strong."