Business

Another locally owned restaurant closes, the fourth in a month

The Wines on Vine bar and bistro opened 14 years ago. The owners, Larry and Julie Adams, said investors are looking to take the business “on a different path. ... Our best to them on this endeavor.”
The Wines on Vine bar and bistro opened 14 years ago. The owners, Larry and Julie Adams, said investors are looking to take the business “on a different path. ... Our best to them on this endeavor.” jpatton1@herald-leader.com

Wines on Vine, a popular lunch and dinner spot at 400 Old Vine Street, has closed. Saturday was its last day. It’s the fourth local downtown restaurant to close in a month.

Wines on Vine owners Larry and Julie Adams announced the news in a post on Facebook, thanking customers. The restaurant had been in business for 14 years; it was opened in 2004 by Burk Kessinger, who sold it three years ago.

“We want to thank all who have joined us over the years for your support and friendship. We have striven to maintain a comfortable and rewarding dining experience for everyone that came in; if we fell short on that aspect, we extend our sincere apology,” the post said. “To everyone who had many great times with us and allowed us to be a part of your birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and graduations, our thanks to you, and you will be greatly missed.”

The Adamses said they are in contact with investors who are interested in taking Wines on Vine on a different path, “but still offering a unique spot for dining and spirits; our best to them on this endeavor.”

Larry Adams said Monday that he has a verbal agreement to sell the business. It’s unclear what that means for the restaurant’s future.

It’s the fourth locally owned one to close this month, following Chatham’s Bistro & Bar at High Street and Woodland Avenue, Enoteca on Jefferson Street, and The Julep Cup at Woodland Avenue and Main Street.

“I think, to sustain in this climate in Fayette County, you have to have everything working in perfect order,” Adams said. “You have to have an excellent chef, management on top of every game, and maximize every nickel of revenue. If you’re not, you’re going to fall short.”

Part of the problem is increased competition, and part of it is the attention that new restaurants get, which draws customers away from older places, he said.

“It’s an economic downturn in Fayette County,” Adams said. “You’ll see a bunch close over the next few months. Most of them are struggling same as I am. … It’s a flooded market here in Lexington.”

About two dozen new places opened this year at The Summit at Fritz Farm, along with new dining options in the Distillery District and Chevy Chase.

The Summit’s new restaurants include some locally owned businesses, including chef Ouita Michel’s Honeywood and the vendors in The Barn, but they also include national chains such as CRÚ Food & Wine Bar, J. Alexander’s and Ted’s Montana Grill.

Adams said the Summit wasn’t the only factor.

“The Summit is what it is. A lot of our client base isn’t going to the Summit,” he said. “Several things came together that left us at a financial shortfall. I think it’s a lot of contributing factors. … It’s been a long, agonizing process to close. We’re putting 16 people on the street, and that doesn’t do anything for the county.”

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