Owner closing Mealey's for second time in two years

Mealey’s Restaurant and Pub is shown last year in New Market. The restaurant reopened last July but will close again July 19. This is its second closing in two years.

The “closed” sign is about to be set in front of Mealey’s Restaurant and Pub once again.

Owner Carl Miller is closing the eatery for the second time in less than two years because the food and the restaurant’s sales aren’t meeting his expectations, he said Wednesday.

“They don’t have the class of food there that I would like,” he said. “It’s not getting any better.”

The restaurant opened under new management less than a year ago on July 25, 2012, but this version of the Main Street anchor will close July 19.

Susan Shipley Witmer, general manager, said the restaurant was doing as well as could be expected, but it generally takes a few years for new restaurants to break even throughout the industry.

“Things were going as I anticipated for the first year,” Witmer said. “It’s a struggle with any new business.”

The restaurant added live music three days a week and specialty infused cocktails since reopening. She said the restaurant saw a long stretch of month-to-month sales increases until last winter, a traditionally slow time in the business.

Witmer also said the business is picking up again with the warm weather, and groups were renting out space in the building for rehearsal dinners and other parties.

Miller said the building and the restaurant will be listed for sale soon and that the restaurant will not remain open throughout the sale.

The three-story, 9,442-square-foot building at 8 West Main St. — which began as the Utz Hotel in 1793 and later was a general store until it became an eatery in the early 1900s — has experienced a rough patch in the last several years.

The New Market landmark closed in March 2009 and was on the market for more than 21⁄2 years before Miller scooped it up.

Mealey’s Table, a farm-to-table, new American-style restaurant opened in April 2012 but was closed by Miller after just six weeks.

“I gave it a year and that was a good try,” Miller said of the restaurant’s most recent resurrection.

He said he spoke with accountants in February about whether to keep the restaurant and decided last month to close.

In a Facebook message Wednesday, Witmer posted a message to the restaurant’s customers.

“We have made a great run at it, but the owner has decided to sell,” she wrote. “I greatly appreciate all the wonderful customers we have come to love over the past 11 months.”

A party is planned for the restaurant’s last night in business under the current management.

Follow Danielle E. Gaines on Twitter: @danielleegaines.

(16) comments

suswitm

I was going to wait until we were closed to reply to these comments. NO ONE knows the difficulty that my staff and I have gone through to change the image of Mealey's from the oldfashioned restaurant that it was to something a bit more family friendly with a touch of relaxation. We attempted to do this with an owner who was not willing to commit too much money to the project because he had been burned so badly by the previous management team. Say what you will about him but he is one of the kindest, most generous men around but did NOT know the restaurant business at all. We have struggled trying to find our place in New Market which can be a bit difficult. I personally worked 80-90 hours per week because I had no management help. You can say what you want but we have served thousands of happy customers and hear wonderful comments about our food and the music that we provide. I am sick and tired of hearing the haters whine about music too load (which it isn't) and food that is unsatisfactory. I am here EVERY day and night and have dealt with very few complaints over the last 11 months. Sorry to blast and I'm sure I'm going to crucified by the commentators on this page but the reality is new independent restaurants take 1-2 years to get their footing and another 2-3 to even break even or turn a profit. Remember your hateful comments are hurting people who have worked extremely hard to make this happen. I feel sorry for those who are so miserable that they have nothing better to do than denigrate others who are striving to overcome a nearly impossible situation. Peace!

stevem90999

It just goes to show you these amateur entrepreneurs don't know what they're doing. They just want the "fast" money and when they don't get it, they're out of there. He should have known that the kind of business this establishment does would not generally give a "fast" turn around of profit. DUH.

president8444

BYE BYE again

molos66

Wish the Raw Bar would have the same demise

RIGHTonline

Mr. Miller sounds like another Dan Snyder. Try to piece together a team (or in this case, a business) with scotch-tape and bubblegum. And when you don't get the results you want within a year or two, send everyone pack'in. Like sports teams, businesses need time to gel and get established. I never ate there...in fact, have never set foot in the building since it was the old and infamous Mealeys (seafood). Mr. Miller just sounds like a businessman wannabe without the mind and patience it takes to be successful. Here's hoping the staff that supported his effort will now find a well-grounded employer.

ctantiques

unfortunate but the the food and the service was poor, even the pub food was abysmal and the prices on wine and beer were higher than in other local restaurants.We had hoped for something else tried is a couple of times but it disappointed.

grpcrkplan

maybe he should have called Robert Irvine AKA- Mr. Restaurant Impossible

wvacountryroads

For a small town with an upscale image you need an upscale restaurant not an over priced burger joint. New Market really needs to dump the antiques Capital sign too. There are no real antiques shops left in town what is there offers , 1960's junk and not much more

Traderarb99

I had a bad experience with service as well - waited over 30 minutes for a server to even greet us and offer drinks. Left soon after never to return. I'm sure Milo's is licking their chops.....

Elamb

Maybe they should try not having music blaring in your ear when you are trying to eat on a Friday night. That place is way to small for a live Jazz band and all those amplifiers at dinner time when you are trying to eat, AND the food is to expensive to have to deal with that while eating. I won't go back.

clownwatch

“They don’t have the class of food there that I would like,” he said. “It’s not getting any better.”

Hey, Mr. Miller, you own the place.

frederickhole

The food was mediocre and the prices were way to high for what you got. [sad]

clownwatch

The reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor are absolutely terrible. As bad as I've ever seen. The restaurant was horribly mismanaged.

dressthebird

Too many other better places to go

seadooit66

I'm not surprised "the restaurant’s sales aren’t meeting his expectations" -- we ate there once when it was Mealey's Table, and didn't like it. Then in the current incarnation, we ate there twice, but after the second time being even worse than the first time, we decided we were not going back. The food was fine; it was lousy service that killed it for us.

fourofsix2003

sounds like Miller needs to give things a little more time instead of making a killing overnight.

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