More. Kitchen & Bar is closing Saturday after about a year-and-a-half of business as the owners reconceptualize the restaurant that’s a block east of Glenwood South.
The restaurant made a name for itself and earned positive reviews with its American fusion food and minimalist style. But Ryan Riek, co-owner of JMR Kitchens, said they weren’t getting the traffic they anticipated.
“A lot of things go into that,” said Ryan, who owns JMR Kitchens Restaurant Group with his brother, Justin Riek. “It’s not just one thing. It’s not just construction. There’s so many working parts to restaurants.”
He said they will take the summer to rethink the concept for the space on West Street; eight years remain on the lease. He said the restaurant might do some pop-up dinners over the summer.
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“We felt we could do a different concept that could be appreciated by the masses and not as targeted to our style, targeted to the neighborhood style,” he said.
He said they don’t plan to give up the lease but said, “Obviously if someone wanted to buy it, we won’t walk away from that.”
The restaurant group has had a busy few years since they launched Taste in 2013 at 3048 Medlin Drive, off Dixie Trail. They opened the Oak kitchen & bourbon bar at 4035 Lake Boone Trail in 2014. More. opened in November 2015.
A second Taste opened May 11 on Bernard Street in Five Points, taking over the space occupied by Cave 1912 restaurant and wine bar.
Riek said More. served scratch-made food in various genres before ending up with American-fusion.
“The food we’re doing now is doing just as good as our opening menu, which was just a bit more intricate,” he said. “The service times, when you’re doing raw, scratch-style cooking, it’s not for the masses.”
And while he said he didn’t want to pinpoint a cause for More’s closing, he acknowledged that the recent fire near More’s building, which took down an apartment building under construction, affected business to an extent. They shut down the weekend after the Thursday fire, and then the amount of free parking near the restaurant was occupied by cleanup crews.
But, he added, “It’s imperative that these residents come home.”
Employees who work for More. will transfer to other jobs in the company, he said. He said it’s important not to displace their employees. And because More is closing, the second Taste at Bernard Street will extend its service to seven days a week, starting June 4 and will make some of those jobs available. Now, the location is closed Sundays and Mondays.
He said the company is brainstorming potential concepts and plans to let the More. name go.
“With the closing, we’ll do a fresh name, a new facelift,” he said.
“I’ve always said from the beginning, not every concept and not every market is based for us.”