Beers to You reports that OKay’s is Closed

Rich Ireland of theGazz’s Beers to You blog reports that as of October 31st OKay’s was closed.  I guess we can take this one off the future reviews page.  We will never know if this was a Trick or Treat, but they did have a fine selection of brews.  Please see Rich’s coverage in the Suds Report.   Thanks to Oncee for the heads up.


11 responses to “Beers to You reports that OKay’s is Closed

  1. No surprise.
    Every restaurant there has folded.
    No amount of paint on an exterior wall can make up for a bad location.

  2. How is that a bad location? Chef Dan’s operated sucessfully for years and its closing had little to do with number of customers. Top Cat’s was terrible and its demise can hardly be blamed on the location. Blues BBQ did decent business and was able to sell an established business with a loyal customer base to OKay’s . I don’t know the reasons behind OKay’s closing but I do know the service declined and the food became inconsistent .

    That would seem to me be a good location.– across the street from the Clay Center, close to CAMC and numerous doctors’ offices, a couple of decent sized hotels, relatively close to both Power Park and the heart of downtown but in a location where it is actually pretty easy to find parking. Not only did Chef Dan’s have a run of many years, General Seafood, basically across the Street, was popular for many years until the fire.

    It’s actually an excellent location. The rooms are nice and it has a good kitchen and a good bar. I’d say it is one of the more ideal locations in the city, and if someone with the capital, know-how and skills was looking for a good place to open a new restaurant, it would be near the top of the list.

    (No, I don’t even know who the landlord is, let alone have any ties to him or her.)

  3. I tend to agree with Phil. I think the food in everyone of those establishments was subpar (I never ate at Top Cats). Chef Dan had so much heat and serve stuff on the menu at the end I felt like I was eating on a college campus. The Blues food was ok but they strayed from their original concept to use more of the kitchen (brick oven pizza and pasta) that I felt it lost its appeal. Same goes for OKay’s. She was always “ripping on” her servers and even prior to her son getting hurt (i hate that) telling “whoa is me” stories. But she did have a great beer and wine menu. Her support for local live music was good too.

    The bottom line is serve great food consistently and people will come.

  4. I agree with you on Chef Dan’s. always thought it was mediocre but he did have a large variety of pasta dishes so it was a decent compromise place for a group. Trust me– Top Cat’s sucked.

    I thought Blues served several varieties of excellent barbecue and sides (still does on Jefferson) but I never had anything else there. I think a lot of places err by trying to be all things to all people rather than focusing on the core, but as I never had anything but the core, I have no opinion on the other offerings.

    OKay’s really just kept the menu from Blues but I felt it became much more inconsistent than when it was Blues. (Your observation about issues with the staff might explain that.)

    Kay seems as if she might have had a reach that exceeded her grasp. There is a lot more involved in running a restaurant/bar than being an amusing character and drawing beers. Some people can be an excellent and valuable employee but a poor boss. I hope she finds a job where she can put her skills to good use as a front personaility and someone else can handle the business and management aspects of the business.

    I do think someone could run a very successful business out that place. It’s a good location and I imagine the rent for a facility which is pretty much turnkey is very competitive. You aren’t going to find many places in this area with that equipment and fixtures at such a small start-up cost.

  5. Chef Dan’s went bankrupt.
    So either he didn’t have the traffic or he was a lousy businessman or both.

    I read a study a few years back that basically said if you’re starting a new business and businesses have consistently gone under a certain location, to pass it by. Something’s happening with the location.

  6. The restaurant business is tough, especially for under-capitalized owner operated restaurants not affilliated with a franchise or chain.

    Chef Dan’s operated for many years which suggests that he wasn’t that bad a businessman when he was working hard at the business. Sometimes people get burned out; sometimes people have personal problems; sometimes places just become less popular over time because of competiton or just because people get tired of it.

    There are places that operate for years or even decades and then eventually have to shut down for one reason or another. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the owner is a “bad businessman” or that the it’s a “bad location.” If the real world were that simple it would be quite easy to succeed forever, but it isn’t .

  7. Phil – Just so you know wordpress doesn’t auto approve your comments, because you use a different email address from time to time. We only approve a persons first comment on the site then they can freely comment after that. You just need to use consistent info.

  8. Fazio’s is a good example of a restaurant not affiliated with a franchise or chain that’s not an ideal location. But it’s worked in that location for many, many years. They’re obviously doing something right.

  9. Leonoro’s is another. That might be a worse location. It’s a more convenient location but the neighborhood has seriously gone downhill and it still survives.

    On the other hand, its neighborhood’s decline eventually killed the Sterling after many years.

    The corner of Lee Street and Leon Sullivan suffers from none of the problems associated with those other places though. It’s neither inconvenient nor dangerous/sleazy. It’s an excellent location in pretty much every respect.

  10. I think the consensus about Chef Dan’s was that at some point, the guy just got burnt out. It went way down hill, really really fast.

    Top Cat’s was a disaster, and everyone knew it from the moment it opened. Seriously, if you’re dumb enough to name a place “Top Cat’s,” then it probably follows that you lack the attention to detail it takes to turn out decent food with friendly, efficient service.

    There was a review of Top Cat’s just after the place opened by Steven Keith of the Daily Mail that almost perfectly encapsulated everything that’s wrong with small town food writing. From reading the review, you could just tell that the meal was awful, and that the service was just as bad. But still, the Food Guy went out of his way to say nice things about the place. He does that all the time, if you notice.

    My view is that if a place sucks, you should just tell people so they don’t waste their hard earned money there. Period. But I also understand that in a rinky dink town like this, a bad review like that could bury a place. For the longest time I thought the answer to that problem was for newspapers like the DM to just not run reviews of sucky restaurants. But now I think the answer is blogs, like this one. You can be brutally honest, but at the same time you don’t necessarily have to worry about causing trouble.

  11. Daniel was quoted as saying, “Same goes for OKay’s. She was always “ripping on” her servers and even prior to her son getting hurt (i hate that) telling “whoa is me” stories. But she did have a great beer and wine menu. Her support for local live music was good too.

    The bottom line is serve great food consistently and people will come.”

    I completely agree with him. My thought: if you want to listen to drama, then go to a dinner theater. Sometimes listening to ranting and raving can cause such indigestion that one doesn’t want to go back.

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