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Black Tulip to reopen after destruction spree

Cocoa restaurant undergoes estimated $100,000 in renovations

COCOA, Fla. – After a July $100,000-plus vandalism spree wreaked widespread havoc inside the aging Black Tulip, the restaurant has been rebranded and reborn after a comprehensive construction campaign.

Local 6 News partner Florida Today reports that the Tulip Restaurant & Lounge reopened with a new Latin "Floribbean" menu at 4 p.m. Tuesday on Brevard Avenue in Cocoa Village.

"It's overwhelming. I just keep saying, 'It's the restaurant I have dreamed of my entire life,'" said co-owner Tanya Colzani, standing Sunday in her redesigned second dining room.

"Working with my dad (Daniel Colzani) for 22 years and knowing something had to change physically ... it was never going to happen. Never. We talked about it and talked about it, and dreamed. You see all the chain restaurants that have redone themselves in the last year or two," she said.

"Unfortunately, we didn't have that kind of finances," she said.

David Lightholder, of Lightholder Building Contractors, estimated total renovations at $90,000 to $100,000, including landscaping and exterior work.

"We did everything. We took out the ceilings. We took out the floors. We took out the old wood on the walls, the old windows. New windows, new drywall, new insulation, new flooring, all new cabinets, new bar, electrical," Lightholder described.

Lightholder's wife, Holly, owns the home decor business Beautiful Spaces by Holly Marie. She helped oversee the rebuilding process.

"I kind of wanted to go with a Tuscan feel. It's a vision that I had. It's always been a Continental restaurant, and I wanted to change it up a little bit," Holly Lightholder said.

New additions include a screened porch dining area and an outdoor fire pit near an herb garden. Gone are the gumbo limbo trees in the original dining room -- Tanya said her father was "hesitant" but eventually agreed to start with a clean slate.

Cocoa police believe former Black Tulip chef Dean O'Hara caused more than $100,000 in damages between July 21-23 by flooding floors, unplugging coolers, slicing paintings, shattering sinks and toilets, and smashing more than 1,000 bottles of wine and liquor.

The next week, Ormond Beach police said O'Hara, 50, leaped to his death off a seventh-story oceanfront hotel balcony after he brandished a knife at police officers.

The Black Tulip investigation continues, said Barbara Matthews, Cocoa police spokeswoman.

"So far, all of the the fingerprints that we have received confirmation back on are from Mr. O'Hara. We are still waiting on some evidence back from the lab to determine if there was another person -- or other people -- involved in the attack on the Black Tulip," Matthews said.

"We have believed the whole time, given the amount of destruction, that he may have had help. And that's why we're hoping this other evidence that comes back from the lab may point us in another direction. If there's someone else out there who is responsible, we certainly do want to be able to charge them for the destruction," she said.

Matthews declined further comment on the investigation. She said police have received no new leads or additional information.

Daniel Colzani estimated that 80 percent of his menu has changed. Long regarded as a fancy restaurant for special events, the focus will shift to daily dinners starting at $14 in a less-formal atmosphere.

Black Tulip opened in 1981. Construction wrapped up Thursday, and the eatery hosted a pharmaceutical group's party that evening. The restaurant hosted a wedding rehearsal party Friday night, and about 75 people who helped rebuild the place celebrated there Saturday night.

A grand opening event will likely occur in mid-October, Tanya Colzani said. In the future, the restaurant will likely stay open later at night, featuring music.

Hours are 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 4 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The restaurant is closed Sunday and Monday.