After less than a year in business, Indio on Glenwood Avenue officially closed on Monday.
A letter from Blue Ridge Realty, the landlord, explained the repossession in a letter on the front door, fair warning for customers possibly arriving for the weekday Indian buffet. The letter noted failure to pay rent.
“It was an extremely difficult decision, but it was time to close the doors,” wrote owner Katen Shah in a subsequent Facebook post. “It was always a dream of mine to open a restaurant, and I learned so much from this experience that I will take with me moving forward.”
On Wednesday, Shah said that singlehandedly managing all the parts of the restaurant—from hosts and servers, to chefs and menus—just became too much to handle.
“It was all me doing everything,” he says. “It pains me that we had to cut it short. It was a great experience, and all the neighbors and the downtown community really supported me. It was great, and I am glad I got to bring Indio to downtown. I want to thank everybody who supported us.”
Shah, a first-time restaurateur, had a year-long lease on the 20,000-square-foot suite. He hoped to be able to use the space’s kitchen for catering for his wedding-planning business during the restaurant’s off-hours.
Shah feels his business suffered initially from the poor reputation of Blue Mango, the previous tenant and another Indian restaurant. Blue Mango racked up its share of colorful negative reviews on Yelp and Facebook, with complaints about both the food and service, during its nearly four-year run.
“The food quality is going down day by day,” a typical one from last March reads. “For some reason, food service is extremely fast and many times food is not properly cooked, spices are not mixed well … If you really crave for good Indian food, you better ignore this place.”
At this point, Shah doesn’t think an Indian restaurant is a feasible concept for the 222 Glenwood suite. He is taking the next year to concentrate on his design business, but he may begin looking for a smaller space downtown for a new hospitality concept in a year.
“The rent is really high in that location, and we are limited to certain things we can do because of the tenants upstairs, so we couldn’t do certain things we wanted to do,” he says. “It is too large a space for a restaurant. We maybe needed something smaller.”