We know the restaurant business can be tough, but Carlton's in the old Michie Company building at 609 East Market Street, may have set a record. Just two months after opening (and just days before making its Charlottesville Restaurant Week debut) the French-style restaurant with a budding soft-vocal jazz lounge scene has called it quits.
"Life is unpredictable," says owner Bernard Dukes. "We opened right into the slow season, and we just couldn't survive. I didn't want to get into debt up to my eyeballs."
Dukes promises that everyone will be paid, and that those who bought online Groupon-style coupons can send them to Carlton's address or stop by the restaurant to be reimbursed. Meanwhile, Dukes says there has already been some interest from potential buyers.
As you may have noticed in last week's issue of the Hook, Carlton's was one of the 20 local restaurants participating in Charlottesville Restaurant Week July 11-17
"It's a beautiful spot," says Dukes. "And everything is ready to go. It's one of the few places with a nice courtyard. Whoever takes it on is going to do fine."
Meanwhile, Carlton's music co-ordinator, Evan Mook, let friends know via email that he's helping to find a new owner, one who will presumably want a late night jazz scene.
"It was just starting to catch on, reviews were just coming out, and they were all fantastic," writes Mook. "Let's hope the right someone steps in to make it happen."