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Iconic Skipper's Smokehouse is being turned into a special events center

The owner is looking for someone to help guide it out of the pandemic and kick off the business' future.

TAMPA, Fla. — After 40 years, Skipper's Smokehouse is calling it quits – at least in its current form.

The iconic restaurant has been serving up award-winning food and live music for decades in Tampa. After Sunday, it will be repurposed into an outdoor special events center until a new owner is found to guide it out of the pandemic.

Skipper's current owner Tom White is looking for either a joint-venture partner or buyer to acquire the business and the property. In a news release, White indicated he was "ready to go fishing." He is, however, open to staying involved in some capacity.

"This is not the end of the road, but merely a fork where the roads divide," Skipper's Smokehouse wrote in a Facebook post.

The smokehouse has spent the last week celebrating its four decades of bringing culture and comradery to the Tampa Bay area. Celebrations will continue through Sept. 27 with "socially responsible sold-out shows."

Skipper's Smokehouse has been featured on television networks like the Travel Channel, Golf Channel and CBS Sports. The business has raised millions of dollars for charities since it opened, benefiting everything from veterans groups to domestic violence shelters and cancer research.

"We really hate to see this party end, but it is time to move on to the next phase of life after an extremely dedicated forty years of serving Tampa Bay and beyond," the business wrote in a news release.

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