It's one thing to close a restaurant. It's another to leave staff and a bunch of brides in the dark. That's the situation at Cabo's Corner Bistro, a Fan District landmark known for jazz, smoke and a cougar-rich bar scene.
Cabo's has been shuttered for three weeks with no official word to the musicians who usually play there, the patrons or the catering clientele.
Local attorney and musician Bart Chucker — who also represents Wayne Street, Cabo's owner — says he hopes his band will be there to perform for this week's First Friday event, but chances appear increasingly dim. The Web site's down, the phone isn't being answered, and the service staff is looking for work elsewhere.
Street, whose other Fan restaurant, Easy Street, shut down without notice at the same time, hasn't returned calls to Style. Meanwhile, other restaurant owners are busy booking the wedding parties and rehearsal dinners that had been scheduled at Cabo's.
David Napier of Old City Bar says he helped a couple of almost-tearful brides change venues at the eleventh hour. “I just feel so sorry for these people,” he says. “You can't just walk away from the calendar, you should give people a chance” to find another setting for their events. Other owners are trying to get the word out to the restaurant's clients before holiday bookings get tighter.
Street's situation rings familiar to plenty of local restaurateurs, who are watching their fourth quarter numbers with particular wariness. These aren't the best economic times to be operating a restaurant — a high-overhead business — and it's become increasingly difficult to make the margins live up to a name like Easy Street.