When restaurants open statewide on Friday to outdoor dining, Rose Italian Kitchen in Solon will not be one of them.
Bret Adams, founder of Chef Art Pour Restaurant Group which runs 16 Burntwood Taverns and M Italian in Chagrin Falls, confirmed last week that he will be opening all his locations except for Rose Italian Kitchen.
Businesses, including sit-down service in restaurants, were halted by the state in mid-March as part of the effort to contain the highly contagious COVID-19 disease. Restaurants were permitted to continue offering take-out service. Mr. Adams decided at that time to completely close some of his locations and keep others open for take-out service.
Rose opened in the former Applebees location about two years ago. It is next to the 5,000 square foot Chic-fil-A at the corner of SOM Center and Solon roads.
“We only have so many resources and so much energy,” Mr. Adams said, “and we just decided it would be in our best interest to focus on our other restaurants.”
The 50 Rose kitchen employees will be transferred to other Chef Art Pour locations, Mr. Adams said.
“There have been times we didn’t put our best foot forward in that restaurant for whatever reason,” he said of Rose Kitchen. “I think Solon as a community embraced it and I think we were fine, (but) the amount of energy we put into it didn’t meet the return that a Burntwood would or an M Italian would.
“We didn’t see the result based on the energy,” Mr. Adams added.
He will attempt to negotiate a lease buy-out with Applebees, from whom Mr. Adams is subleasing the Rose kitchen building.
“We will try to do the right thing, and in this climate, there are a lot of things up in the air.”
Every industry is “touch and go” as the pandemic continues, he said adding that his carryout business in Solon has been successful so far.
“We were pleasantly surprised yesterday when the governor gave us the date of May 15 [for outside sit-down service] and May 21 [for inside sit-down service,] he said last week. Mr. Adams said it will be a long process for people and business to come back.
“When the restaurants open, there will be another wave of restaurants who think they are going to make it and don’t make it,” Mr. Adams continued. “It will be a long road. We are just taking a very conservative approach so that we can bring as many employees back as we can and react to the business.”
He said the safety of his staff and the guests will be the top priority going forward.
“In anticipation of this, all of the restaurants have been laid out for the 6-foot [physical distancing] rule,” he said. He also was awaiting last week the delivery of 30,000 masks. Banners and sanitizing devices have been installed at the entrance to each restaurant. Training of the management teams as well as a complete sanitation of the restaurants took place he said. Restaurants got a new coat of paint as part of a “sparkle” program, he added.
“This is an unprecedented time,” Mr. Adams said. He had management perform a lot of the work in preparation for reopening in an effort to keep them employed rather than hire outside contractors.
Mr. Adams opened his third Burntwood restaurant on Solon Road about eight years ago.
“While we appreciate there will be a void there with Rose being gone, we are excited for the future and appreciate the community, the mayor and the people of Solon,” he concluded.