Parking issues and a lack of patio space are precipitating a likely move, says CLB Restaurants president Craig Barnum.
Matt the Miller’s Tavern in Grandview will likely not reopen, says the president of CLB Restaurants, the group that owns Matt the Miller’s and Tucci’s. Reached by phone Thursday, Craig Barnum says his company is looking to relocate the restaurant to Upper Arlington or the surrounding vicinity, though a deal is not yet in place.
Matt the Miller’s 4,500-square-foot restaurant at 1400 Grandview Ave. is nearing the end of its 10-year lease and has been closed since mid-March, prompted by Ohio’s dine-in ban. In addition, parking issues, lack of patio space and the state’s current self-serve buffet rules are precipitating the move, Barnum says.
“There is no long-term solution for parking,” he says. “We really have no option to expand our patio. We really don’t know if buffets are going to be coming back anytime in the near future. We just thought it was time for us to look at alternative spaces to potentially move to. [We] love Grandview, love the people down there, but it’s more than likely time to look at going someplace else.”
For many years, the restaurant’s lunch and dinner patrons parked for free in the parking lot of St. Christopher’s Parish next to the restaurant, Barnum says. That changed in the past year when the church started charging restaurant customers to park. “That’s their parking, their property. They have every right to do that,” he says. “I don’t hold any ill feelings. The church was always very, very good to us, but that equation did change.”
The coronavirus pandemic has created additional challenges. During a time when outdoor dining is prized, the location’s West-facing patio is limited to about seven small tables. The Grandview location’s best shift, Barnum adds, was its Sunday buffet brunch, which was self-serve—something prohibited under the state’s current COVID-19 regulations.
Barnum says CLB is working with its Grandview Avenue landlords, Wagenbrenner Real Estate, on an exit strategy. With so many retail spaces likely to become available in the next three to nine months because of the pandemic, CLB is taking its time. “Right now, there could be another shutdown,” Barnum says. “Really, to commit to a space right now and even attempt to move [the tavern]—I don’t know if that’s a good idea. We’re just kind of in a holding pattern and just need to be patient.”
Matt the Miller’s Dublin location is currently open for dine-in and carryout, and its Polaris restaurant is expected to reopen soon for dine-in service.