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Iconic Isle of Palms restaurant near Charleston changes hands after 23 years

A longtime Isle of Palms beach grill is undergoing a change of ownership.

Joe Petro announced on Facebook he is retiring and he and his family will sell the iconic Coconut Joe's at 1120 Ocean Blvd. after operating it for the past 23 years.

The deal is expected to close on Wednesday, according to Jim Moring with, who is handling the transaction for the buyer and the seller.

"Many relationships began in our restaurant," Petro said. "People who worked together are now married couples. We have seen the birth of 55 children by our staff over the years. Lifelong friendships started and have grown amongst our staff. It has been an extremely rewarding career."

He called the loss of relationships the hardest part of selling the business.

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The new owner is no stranger to Charleston.

Perry Freeman owns four Charleston Sports Pub locations in the Lowcountry on James Island and in Mount Pleasant, Summerville and West Ashley along with outposts in Clemson and Greenville. The restaurant's website says another one is planned for Goose Creek.

Petro said Freeman is committed to keeping the Coconut Joe's concept intact and will retain the management team and staff.

After a private staff event Monday evening, the restaurant will reopen 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday as the last day under the Petro family ownership.

The restaurant will close Wednesday for the transition and will reopen Thursday under Freeman's ownership.

Coconut Joe's

Coconut Joe's is a longtime staple of the Isle of Palms. Provided

Reach Warren L. Wise at 843-937-5524. Follow him on Twitter @warrenlancewise.

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