Observers of the citys dining scene cant help but wonder whats in store for Tremonts swank 806 Wine and Martini Bar. In the past few weeks, co-owner Tony Prusak has stepped down as managing partner; majority owner Tom Leneghan has taken over 806s day-to-day operations; and, depending on whom you ask, award-winning mixologist Jody Manning either resigned as bar manager or had the rug pulled out from under him.
We tried several times to talk to Leneghan about what these alterations mean for the elegant watering hole, but kept getting intercepted by his marketing coordinator, Kiley Smith. Smith confirmed the personnel changes, but denied that the operation was being restructured. Were just tightening up on details, Smith maintained, adding, 806 isnt changing in any way. Everybody is going to walk in and have the same experience as they did before.
One source posits that Prusak, a 20-year veteran of the hospitality industry, and Leneghan, co-owner of the nearby Tree House bar, had a falling-out over how quickly the one-year-old business was -- or wasnt -- turning a profit. Its not realistic to think that this type of high-end business will make anyone a millionaire in the first year, the source notes. Its a long-term commitment to ensure a place like that becomes profitable.
On the other hand, Doug Petkovic, owner of next-doors Theory, notes that Leneghan has a proven track record with the Tree House and doubts that he would make any moves that might jeopardize 806s future success. Tom Leneghan is a survivor and a very successful businessman; and hes a nice guy too. Theres obviously been some sort of rift in the partnership. But what happened between him and Tony, I just dont know.
As for Manning -- considered by many to be the citys top bartender -- he confirms Smiths claim that he submitted a letter of resignation, but says it was only after he was told that his job was being changed from bar manager to bartender. I felt I was overqualified for the job they were offering me, due to the restructuring. I didnt say, I want to leave. I just had to make a choice.
Despite the recent management changes, Petkovic remains a staunch supporter of the operation. Theyve been great neighbors, and I think theyve done an awesome job. Its been a great place to send our guests before and after dinner. And I think 806 will continue to be a great place. No one person ever makes or breaks a business.
Meantime, Prusak appears ready to sever all ties with 806: Weve heard hes already looking for locations for a new martini bar.