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Jimbo's Fights Back

By Chuck Sudo in Miscellaneous on Sep 28, 2006 6:57PM

Jimbo's Lounge, Bridgeport's little sports bar that could, is not taking the loss of their lease lying down.

Since news reports surfaced last month detailing the story of Jimbo's not having their lease renewed, a petition drive to save Jimbo's has so far netted signatures from 165 neighbors who would rather see the corner go dry, than see an establishment not run by owners Jimbo and Joyce Levato. The Levatos, meanwhile, are trying to trace anonymous phone calls they've received, warning them to "get out while the getting is good". The Levatos also plan on taking the fight to the courts, and staying open until a judge makes a final decision.

Rumors are also swirling around the neighborhood that the bulding owners, Raymond and Donna DeGrazia, are planning on starting their own business in Jimbo's current space. The DeGrazias are not without clout. Donna Degrazia works for 38th Ward Alderman Tom Allen and was a former employee of 11th Ward Alderman Patrick Huels. Her brother, a Streets and Sanitation worker named Fred Barbara, runs a hot dog stand next door to Jimbo's. Her cousin, also creatively named Fred Barbara, is a close friend of both Huels and Mayor Daley, and his name keeps popping up in the Hired Truck scandal. The second Fred Barbara is also one of the owners of the Park Grill in Millennium Park, which received a sweetheart lease (since renegotiated) from the city that included free garbage collection and utilities, a 20-year lease with a 10-year option, and rent control that would make residents of Manhattan jealous. Both Fred Barbaras and Donna Degrazia are also related to the late crime boss Fred Roti, Sr. Donna DeGrazia said to the Sun-Times that they had no plans on opening a bar or restaurant in Jimbo's current spot.

If a judge finds in favor of the DeGrazias, Jimbo Levato plans on throwing one final party for everyone. They also plan on finding a new location, hopefully close to the ballpark. More than likely, he'll be wearing shorts well into November, a man after our own heart.