Ex-chef believes location helped erase Chalk restaurant. | Business
COVINGTON (FOX19) - The former executive chef of Chalk Food+Wine in Covington believes the restaurants location is the main thing that prevented it from succeeding.
Chalk, which was located on Greenup Street near the river, closed at the end of December. A neighboring and formerly co-owned restaurant, the Greenup Café, announced in mid-December that it was closing for the winter.
Marc Bodenstein says a big problem for chalk was that lots of people, including those who lived in Covington, didn't realize where it was and didn't know that there were any restaurants in that section of Greenup Street.
He says many of the customers were weeknight business visitors staying nearby hotel who specifically sought out the restaurant when they saw listings of what kind of food was served. That meant the restaurant wasn't doing great weekday business.
He says the restaurant's emphasis on locally produced food is a trend that has yet to catch on with Cincinnati diners to the extent that is has in other cities. They sometimes had a hard time explaining to people why they should spend six dollars for a salad with one piece of local lettuce when other places would offer a bigger salad with lots of lettuce for four dollars.
Nevertheless, he says he would like his next job to be at a mid- to upscale restaurant that emphasizes locally produced food. He's received some offers but wants to take some time off to decide what he wants to do next.
Bodenstein says he had an option to buy Chalk, but didn't do so because of the challenges he thought the location posed. He also has a hard time believing that the Greenup Café can reopen, having lost many of its current customers and employees by closing. He thinks the area is more suitable for bars since the public knows it for successful bars that are already in the area.
Both restaurants were founded by chef John-Robert de Cavel as part of his group of six restaurants, but de Cavel split with the people who actually controlled the group that once bore his name. He recently opened his own restaurant, John-Robert's Table, on Vine Street Downtown.
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