Minnesotans drink margaritas, remember Jimmy Buffet’s impact on music, culture

Jimmy Buffett fans worldwide and here in Minnesota are remembering their best memories of the performer and entrepreneur.

Brazin Public House in Eden Prairie offered discounted margaritas Saturday to celebrate the iconic Buffett.

"He made the margarita kind of a more common drink and more known throughout the world," said Kevin Champlin, the chef and owner of Brazin Public House.

Customers enjoyed cheeseburgers in Eden Prairie paradise and margaritas as they honored the legend who brought those catchy tunes to life.

"It just puts a smile on everybody's face, you know? You can't be crabby and listen to Jimmy Buffett," said customer Angie McGannon.

"I’ve seen him once. In 1985, he opened up for ZZ Top in St. Paul, which I thought was kind of a weird combination. But the crowd absolutely fell in love with him right when he took the stage," added Tony Cole. 

You’ll have a hard time finding someone with more concert memories than Jeff Hage, who’s seen Jimmy Buffett 49 times.

"I never really made plans to hit that No. 50 yet because, like most people, I thought I'd have another 10 years to do it. I never in a million years expected that today was going to be the day," said Hage, the president of St. MinneSomePlace Parrothead Club.

He runs the Twin Cities’ chapter of fans – affectionately called Parrotheads – which had more than 300 members at its largest. Hage’s Jimmy Buffett journey started at age 12 after his dad bought Buffett’s album "Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes." Buffett’s music has since become a multi-generational tradition for Hage’s family.

"My wife and I took my son to his first Jimmy Buffett concert when he was 2. Now, my grandkids are being raised by my son on Jimmy Buffett music, too," Hage said. "I can honestly say he was the soundtrack to my life."

He believes Buffett's true legacy is not just wasting away but giving away to charity and doing so surrounded by Parrotheads in Hawaiian shirts as they put on backyard concerts.

"The way that he lived his life, I think, is kind of a testimony to the way we all should just relax and let things happen naturally," Cole said.