Fears of a downtown Cleveland restaurant bubble

And could that bubble burst?
Posted at 6:30 PM, Nov 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-17 20:36:22-05

Downtown Cleveland’s cutthroat restaurant scene has claimed another victim, even as more restaurants plan openings.

Tommy Karakostas closed Santorini Greek Taverna on West 9th Street after about two years in business. He said sales were too slow and said not enough people live downtown.

“You make money from you regulars, well if we’re depending on that with all these businesses that keep opening up, there’s not enough regulars here,” he said.

Karakostas is now re-tooling, with plans to reopen the space as a late-night American-style diner with a Greek flair in early December.

“It’s just something in me that I just don’t like giving up,” Karakostas said.

Other restaurants have also recently closed, including the Hard Rock Café over the summer and several restaurants in the new Flats East Bank development.

Further west, The Arcadian in Gordon Square shut down two weeks ago. The former General Manager David Hridel said an investor abruptly pulled the plug despite meeting sales goals, leaving more than two dozen people suddenly without a job.

Back downtown, Michael Deemer with the Downtown Cleveland Alliance said the market is still strong.

"We just expect some retail and restaurant churn,” he said. "You’re going to have places come and go. I think the true test of the market is: are people waiting to fill these spaces when they become vacant and the answer here is a resounding yes.”

Deemer said several restaurants are in the pipeline downtown, including new additions to The Flats, a steakhouse at East 6th Street and Euclid Avenue as well as a Ruth's Chris at Public Square along with a more upscale Taco Bell concept.