This story was originally published on November 24th at 1:50 p.m.

2015 – The “Year Of Change” for the Newport Restaurant scene.

What’sUpNewp has confirmed that plans are in place for the sale of Cafe Zelda, “The Best Little Cafe Between Bar Harbor and Key West”, and transfer of its liquor license to the new owners for the same premises.


Update – March 18, 2016: Cafe Zelda will reopen on March 18th at 4pm. Updated hours – Monday thru Friday: Bar open at 4pm, Dinner at 5pm. Saturday and Sunday: They open at 11am.

Phone number for Cafe Zelda is 401-849-4002


An application has been filed by Rudder, Inc (d.b.a. Cafe Zelda) to transfer its Class VB alcoholic beverage license to Cafe Zelda LLC (d.b.a. Cafe Zelda).

Cafe Zelda LLC is made up of Patrick Kilroy and Craig Kilroy, they will each represent 50% ownership and membership. The two are brothers that are also involved with The Landing and Lobster Bar.

Patrick Kilroy is a Co-Owner of Midtown with Larry Silverstein and the two have recently purchased Perry Mill Tavern and Rhumbline, both of those venues are expected to reopen in Spring 2016.

The application for the transfer of the liquor license will be heard by the Board Of license Commissioners and Newport City Council on Wednesday, December 9th at 6:30pm at Pell Elementary School.

Cafe Zelda was not publicly “on the market” for sale and is still open daily.

It is unknown at this time the purchase price, conditions of the sale or plans the Kilroy’s have for the Lower Thames Street property located at 582 Thame Street.

A source close to the sale tells us that new ownership does plan on reopening the restaurant as soon as possible.

The sale is pending liquor license transfer, victualing license and the closing of the sale.

Update: November 29th

The following update was shared on Cafe Zelda’s Facebook Page on Sunday, November 29th.

“The Cafe Zelda family thanks our many customers and friends who have supported us since 1986. We hope you will join us for dinner or drinks before we close after dinner on December 7th and close the bar on December 11th for winter renovations. Cafe Zelda will re-open in the New Year under new ownership. All the best – Tom & Roxanne Callahan Newport, Rhode Island Read more here: https://whatsupnewp.com/cafe-zelda-restaurant-has-been-sold/

Update: November 27th

The following update was shared on Cafe Zelda’s Facebook Page on Friday, November 27th.

“The Cafe Zelda family thanks our many customers and friends who have supported us since 1986. We hope you will join us for dinner or drinks before we serve our last dinner on December 7th and close the bar on December 11th. All the best – Tom & Roxanne Callahan”

Cafe Zelda History

In the 1940’s, McGee’s Pub took over operations and ran the establishment as a local speakeasy and tavern until 1982. Then the building was purchased by Murray Davis, the founder of Cruising World Magazine in the 1980’s. Davis named the establishment Cafe Zelda, after F. Scott Fitzgerald’s wife and her influence in creating the roaring 20’s lifestyle. In 1986, current owners Tom & Roxanne Callahan purchased the building and the business from Davis.

More from What'sUpNewp

Loading...

Something went wrong. Please refresh the page and/or try again.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.

5 replies on “UPDATE: Cafe Zelda Restaurant Sold, Will Close Temporarily on December 11th”