Order a side of entertainment with your meal, because popular local entertainers like Billy Buchanan, Johnny Wild and the Delights, Clark Barrios and Joe Hand can be found at local restaurants and country clubs like Havana Country Club, Ednas’ on the Green, Redsauce, City Fireand more.
“We just feel that it really adds to the ambience of Ednas’,” said Ednas’ on the Green co-owner, Jordan McDonough.
“Having live music gives us that special touch.” McDonough said that it’s also a good way to support local artists. “We’re also taking into account that, with the current climate, a lot of our musicians’ schedules changed a bit, and we’re a place that could provide them with an extra couple of gigs per week,” McDonough said.
Ednas’ staff members are making sure diners remain socially distanced. “We also have our interior capacity at 50%,” McDonough said. “We’re constantly working with our team to assure that they’re handwashing, and we provide hand sanitizer to our guests.”
Hand, a local musician based out of Oxford, said he enjoys playing at Ednas’ because the audience is really responsive and he’s gained a following.
“I call them my repeat offenders,” Hand joked. “They know me and they come to see me anyway. There are people who know my schedule better than I do. I played a gig in another place in The Villages this week and a lot of the people from Ednas’ came.”
Those seeking food and entertainment can visit Ednas’ website, ednashospitality.com, for a monthly entertainment schedule. Johnny Wild and the Delights is performing from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Mondays at Legacy Restaurant at Nancy Lopez Country Club. Starting Aug. 21, the group also will perform from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Fridays at Havana Country Club.
These are the group’s first public performances since mid-March, said Andy Matchett, a.k.a. Johnny Wild.
“We were kind of waiting for the right time for our gigs to go public, and this was perfect,” Matchett said. “... We’ve always wanted to do a weekly residency in The Villages, but we haven’t been able to do it until now.”
Matchett will perform as Johnny Wild with two of the Wildettes, but hopes to bring in a bass player eventually, as well.
Reservations aren’t required, but they are recommended.
“We just hope that people will have a good time,” said David Suleiman, owner of Havana Country Club and Legacy Restaurant. “It makes for a nice dinner or afternoon.”
Suleiman said that all of his employees wear face masks and sanitize frequently. Both restaurants use disposable paper menus and social distancing is enforced.
If people want to dance, they should just make sure to stay near their table and at least six feet away from others, Suleiman said.
For the menu and entertainment schedules, visit havanacc.comand legacyrestaurant.com.
“Everyone is working very hard to keep people safe and to make sure the tables are social distanced properly,” said Clark Barrios, who performs frequently at Legacy and Havana, as well as other country clubs such as Evans Prairie, Bonifayand Orange Blossom Hills. “Everyone is taking this incredibly seriously.”
Buchanan enjoys performing at country clubs in The Villages, because, unlike other country clubs he’s performed at in Florida, the ones in The Villages are open to everybody.
“Anyone can go to them,” Buchanan said. “You get all kinds of people at them. I just love that people come there specifically for entertainment. You get a really loyal following. I see a lot of the same people at my shows.”
Buchanan frequently performs at Orange Blossom Hills, Ednas’ on the Green, City Fire, Redsauce, Belle Glade, Havana and more.
Senior writer Kristen Fiore can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5270, or firstname.lastname@example.org.