Mar 3, 2017
Molovinsky, The Morning Call and News
The article about Hooks Seafood restaurant closing states that this type of failure isn't unusual in an urban renewal area, according to experts. So says the Morning Call. The article also states that The $6 million renovation of the long-closed Sal's Spaghetti House included a crystal chandelier from Hess's department store.... As you can see from my photograph above, Sal's wasn't renovated. The long closed former spaghetti house was demolished, and a new building was constructed in its place. Now, I can understand the paper not knowing this, after all, the building is over a quarter block away from the newspaper building. Assuming that people at the Morning Call read the paper, apparently nobody caught the error, twice. This was the second time in about a week that this misinformation was printed. However, this post is about the important part of the story, not covered by the paper.
The restaurant was built pre-NIZ. Save for a $50,000 city grant, the entire cost was borne by the owner. It happens that the owner and his wife were retired from a very lucrative business, and always wanted to own a high end restaurant. Opened as the Cosmopolitan, it was high end indeed. When that failed to attract enough well heeled, it was transformed into the more price friendly Hook Seafood. However, with the NIZ and Reilly's hospitality group of eateries, the market was now over-saturated.
The owner of the restaurant when asked about lack of foot traffic downtown stated, "I'm not going to get judgmental or say anything negative." Those are traits that nobody accuses this blogger of having.
photocredit:molovinsky- site of the former Sal's Spaghetti House being prepared for new foundation