What do spring and “For Lease” signs and spring and beautiful woman have in common? Their allure is dangerously charming for both the restaurateur and the lover.
Fortunately, especially for landlords, restaurant owner’s love vacant space almost more than young lovers love beautiful women.
Spring has a strange affect on many restaurant owners as they begin to slow down and gaze in awe. Driving aimlessly through neighborhoods keeping an eye out for the perfect match. Eyeing shapes and size, structure, personality and appearance before looking into the windows of it’s soul – yes, a vacant restaurant space can be a very elusive, seductive, almost evil thing. Fantasizing what a night would be like working the door of a “new place” and then, after the rush dissipates and the crowd leaves them alone, what it would be like to sit in total solitude at a table or the end stool at the bar and reflect on how to make the relationship just a little better.
Enjoying the first few months of a new space relationship is shear bliss for many. My friends Bill Lee and Joe Rombi get the urge every spring to explore new possibilities. Just three years ago I wrote about how Lee, Rombi, Scott Maanum and Tony Tollner were probably all out on the prowl looking for more square footage to add to their stables. Out of that group Lee found a small place in
Rombi didn’t have to look far for his new culinary love. As often is the case with love, he found his next door and opened a small pizza place capturing the flavors and romance of his soul. Rombi and his wife, Laurie were featured in the Monterey Herald last week as the culinary imprint they have made in Pacific Grove, California.
Spring, however, is deceiving for not everyone falls in love. In the evolution of life and love, when one person falls in love, another often falls out of love. Spring is a new beginning for the fallers of in and out and now is the prime time to be looking for that space to add to your collection if you choose to continue down the road of restaurant relationships.
This is also a perfect time to be getting rid of those spaces that just didn’t seem to work out. Often, after the rush never begins, and the crowd never develops, there is that chance to sit alone at a table or at the stool at the end of the bar and realize it is the middle of the dinner hour and nobody, not one loving soul is in your restaurant. That’s when you know the relationship is over and everyone is seeing someone else. That’s when you know it’s time to move on. That’s when you know it is time to sell.
And selling is not always a bad thing. Failing in the restaurant business is part of the business. Not every flavor or style or concept fits every neighborhood. Strangely, neighborhoods have taste buds that we frequently no capture or depict and why they turn sour on a concept is the mystery that man may never know.
So as you walk out your door tonight, or tomorrow morning, don’t lose faith. There is someone out there for you. It may be a nice Italian guy with a dream of pasta or a comfort food guy who like short ribs with mashed. Or better yet, it may be someone like Kara’s Cupcakes wanting to add a bit of sweetness to your space.
And for those who feel jilted, and dumped, hold your head high there is always a single unit space around the corner waiting to be loved and remodeled. With a little paint here, and a touch of shoring up there, the place could be as fresh as a spring day.
Yes, love is in the air, so now may be the time to break off the relationship or begin anew. Tonight whether or not there is a crowd, just after closing, take a seat at the stool at the end of the bar and figure it out. Is it a time to sell or a time to buy?
Spring only lasts a few more months and then it’s gone until next year.