NORFOLK, Va. — As restaurants slowly start to open their doors, and sidewalks, during Phase 1 of reopening, two Downtown Norfolk eateries won’t be.
Saint Germain and Pourhouse, both on Granby Street, are closing permanently.
“For now, the model of Saint Germain is pretty much gone,” said the restaurant’s co-owner Tiffany Kidwell.
Kidwell and her brother David Hledik are saying goodbye to Granby Street after five years of vibrant dishes and craft cocktails.
“Our food really doesn’t go ‘to-go’ very well,” Kidwell said.
Their menu’s creative presentation was the experience, according to Kidwell. She said they captured fine dining in a casual setting.
“We would make our cocktails and use liquid nitrogen,” Kidwell said. “It was a lot of theatrics. People liked to sit at the bar and watch them create.”
She said the city’s new approved outdoor spaces are great, but not flexible enough to keep their doors open. Kidwell said rent at both places wasn’t cheap.
“Let’s just say over $5,500 each,” Kidwell said.
It’s the first big pandemic exit from Granby, as the city’s new Open Norfolk program tries to help restaurants make Phase One work.
The city and volunteers have posted social distancing signs on the ground, in windows and are helping owners set up temporary outside dining spaces.
The initiative is city-wide, with signs popping up on the other side of Colley Avenue at Elevation Brewing.
“People are ready to be out,” said Elevation co-owner Bob Sweeney.
Staff set up Elevation's outside dining space last Thursday.
“Had our best weekend, three days in a row,” Sweeney said. “Best three days we have had since March 16.”
Kidwell said uncertainty surrounding COVID- 19 made the decision to shut her doors tough.
“Worrying about the staff or ourselves getting sick,” Kidwell said. “There is just a lot going into it, instead of just saying, 'Ok we can serve 25 people.;”
But she said this isn’t the end of the road.
“We are very grateful to all of the people who passed through our doors and stay tuned,” Kidwell said. “You never know what is going to happen next.”
The Downtown Norfolk Council said no other restaurants have announced closings. The Virginia Beach Restaurant Association said McCormick and Schmick’s is the only closure in their area.