Suspicion grows around adult club owner's windowless restaurant - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Andrew Douglas

Suspicion grows around adult club owner's windowless restaurant

Strip club owner Steve Cooper insists his Cordova restaurant, The Ocean Club, will be an upscale seafood restaurant and dance club. But some people, including a county commissioner, doubt Cooper's claims, expecting his new venture will serve up skin rather than seafood.

"Very peculiar location for a high class restaurant," said County Comissioner Mike Ritz. "If you were going to put a high class restaurant in Memphis where would you go? You would put it on the Poplar Corridor."

The unfinished building has no windows. But the 14,000 square foot structure does feature bar areas, upstairs and downstairs kitchens, and dining and dance rooms throughout. Community activists worry Cooper's said plans will change once the facility opens.

"Nobody seems to know, and I don't know if he knows what his intent is for this establishment," said Brian Stephens of the Cordova Leadership Council.

Ocean Club is within 1500 feet of the Cordova Church of Christ. According to the county ordinance, an adult club is not permitted within 1500 feet of any church.

Ritz says he expects a fight from Cooper in court, and anticipates he'll push the adult business regardless of zoning laws.

"They've got deep pockets, and they can hire lawyers and sort of wear us out," said Ritz. "They are not going to wear us out. We'll outlast them."

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