When one restaurant door closes, another opens.
So it goes for local operator Midcourse Hospitality Group, which closed three of its eight L.A. restaurants this month.
The casualties included the Santa Monica and West Hollywood locations of Mediterranean seafood restaurant Maré as well as West Hollywood gourmet sandwich shop Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese, named after Food Network personality and chef-owner Eric Greenspan.
Midcourse, which is co-owned by Greenspan and three partners, countered those closings with the February opening of a Maré in Silver Lake and the launch this month of kosher deli Fleishik’s Sandwiches, Nosh & Whiskey in the Fairfax District. The deli, he said, has done better than expected.
Greenspan declined to provide any financial figures.
The closures come as the restaurant industry is expected to see consolidation this year. However, the shutdowns weren’t due to the increasing minimum wage or health benefit costs, which have been blamed for the shuttering of some area eateries, Greenspan said.
Rather, the timing was right to close locations the group hadn’t intended to keep open long term because of being ill-suited to the concepts, he said.
“We grew faster than we necessarily wanted,” Greenspan said.
The company opened Maré Santa Monica last year when renting the space for its vegan restaurant Erven on the same block of Santa Monica Boulevard. Midcourse expected customers familiar with Maré in West Hollywood to visit the Santa Monica location and then possibly return to Erven. But the opposite happened and sales stagnated at Maré down the block.
“The instant rapid-fire success of Erven made everyone want to go there,” said Greenspan.
Maré Silver Lake best suits the concept envisioned by Midcourse partner Jim Hustead, said Greenspan. The space seats 90 comfortably and provides shelter from poor weather, unlike the original Melrose Avenue space, which was all outdoor seating.
Still remaining for Midcourse, which is co-owned by James Moon of the Southern California sandwich chain Stone Oven and chef Nick Erven, is the Roof on Wilshire, an American restaurant atop Miracle Mile’s Kimpton Hotel Wilshire.
The company, which has investors, isn’t planning on opening any other restaurants, whether old or new concepts, at the moment, although Greenspan left the door open if the right opportunity comes along.
Staff reporter Caroline Anderson covers retail, restaurants, and hospitality. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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