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Closings Wed Jun 29 2011
Owning a restaurant is tough. Really, really tough, in fact. And apparently it isn't necessarily any easier for a wealthy restaurateur like Jerry Kleiner, either. If you're not familiar, Kleiner is the man behind Carnivale, Gioco and the now-defunct 33 Club, which very quietly closed its doors this month. A note on its website reads: "It is with regret that The 33 Club announces it has closed for business. We thank all of our patrons for their loyalty and support. We enjoyed serving you and wish you all the best. We hope to see you again down the road."
Now, it's easy to write off 33 Club's failure as one rooted chiefly in its flawed due diligence - a restaurant with too much overhead and too little understanding of the local clientele - however that would be to ignore the larger issue. A quick walk down Wells St. reveals an awful lot of available commercial space. The last two years have seen Eivissa, Palermo Bakery, Cold Stone, Old Town Brasserie and 33 Club all come and go. And that's not to mention the half dozen retailers that couldn't make a go of it.
True, it's still impossible to walk into Topo Gigio without a reservation on a Friday night, and Fireplace will always be packed, but those are Wells St. institutions. The real question is:
In this economy, what does it take to open and run a successful restaurant in Old Town?