Partners Michael Schwartz and Shawn Monday had every intention of keeping Rick’s Café alive and open through the end of summer at least. The team, which also operates the restaurants One Red Door
, Flip Side
and 3 Palms
, purchased the iconic 40-year-old Chagrin Falls eatery last month with plans to eventually install a new concept.
“This is the first time we ever purchased an existing restaurant,” says Schwartz. “We wanted to keep it going because summer, financially, is great. Plus, we wanted to introduce ourselves to the community, talk to guests, learn what items people would never want to see leave the menu, and evaluate the staff.”
Management and staff all agreed on a late-summer closing, adds Schwartz, but a rash of walk outs and no-shows from employees forced his hand.
“We don’t want to give bad service, that’s not who we are, so we made the decision to close now,” he explains.
Schwartz says that it will take him 60 to 90 days to make all of the necessary improvements to the old building before launching his and Monday’s new concept, which he intends to keep under wraps for the time being.
“I have a very clear vision of what I plan to do,” he says. “It will remain a neighborhood gathering place that will incorporate some of the flavors found at the places that we currently have in our other facilities like One Red Door, 3 Palms as well as a couple of Rick’s classics like the ribs and coleslaw."
The crew will transform the dining room with a lot of natural, reclaimed materials like wide-plank floors, live-edge timber bar tops, and exposed brick. Crews will also update the bathrooms, expand and improve the kitchen, and jettison the six or seven microwave ovens that did much of the “cooking.”
“It will have an earthy always-been-there feel,” Schwartz says of the new restaurant.