Abbott’s Grill to close its doors in Milford

MILFORD — Kevin Reading is preparing for one of the biggest sendoffs Abbott’s Grill has hosted — its own.

“We’re nine years in and now we are at the end of our lease period. So, we can exit gracefully,” said Mr. Reading, chef and owner of Abbott’s Grill of its Jan. 12 closing date.

“I’ve been putting in 80-plus hours a week here,” he added. “It’s not working anymore. I just think I need to put my energy in something that’s going to make me money rather than that. It’s not the community. Demographically, it’s too large of a restaurant for a nice, (destination) restaurant.”

Murrie Zlotziver, director of Downtown Milford, Inc., said he was disappointed in the news, but hopes a similar business can take its place.

“I think from our perspective, we’re very disappointed to lose a restaurant of that nature and caliber. It’s extremely disappointing. There are already just a small number of restaurants within the downtown area. That just makes it that much more difficult. We can only hope that that space will be filled with another restaurant. At some point, I think that’s really important,” he said. “You want a diverse downtown. That’s the ideal. You want a variety of businesses that are going to attract a variety of people. Not just the residents, but also residents from outside the downtown area. That’s what makes a town go.”

Abbott’s Grill opened in Milford’s Riverwalk Center on North East Front Street in 2009 with excitement and a bright future in a growing town. Growth, however, played a part in the upcoming closing of that same business.

“Nine years ago, when we opened up, we were everything to everybody. Over time, competition comes in. In the last seven to eight years, Grotto’s came in, Arena’s came in, Mispillion River Brewing came in, Easyspeak came in… there’s just been so many. Grotto’s takes our sports business, Arena’s takes our lunch business, Mispillion takes some of our craft business … We found that over time, the thing nobody could compete with was fine dining and events.” Mr. Reading said.

With those in mind, Mr. Reading and his crew was set with a new goal – enhancing a patio and other areas of the Milford restaurant in hopes of attracting more events to their location.

“I still believe in it. We have been working for about a year and a half to enclose this patio and make an event space out of this. I think, if on the 11th hour, someone comes in, I think we can still get it done. But we might have to cut our losses and move on. Events [kept] us surviving, but it’s just not enough,” he said.

Abbott’s Grill will continue service at its Laurel location, Abbott’s on Broad Creek. It will also honor gift cards purchased at/or for the Milford location. The loyalty program does not transfer from one location to another.

“We’re planning a big promotion, a blow out goodbye, for our last day here on Jan. 12. We’re trying to get a live band and everything,” Mr. Reading said.

Along with the Laurel location, Mr. Reading and his business partner Laura Burton are also working with Mispillion River Brewing as their joint venture, Brickworks, continues to thrive in Smyrna with plans of another location in the future.

“I would like to thank the community for nine years. We’re entrenched in the community and feel a part of it. I would like to think that we had a great influence in the progress and moving forward of the community and that they would continue to support us in our other locations,” he said.

 

Reach staff writer Jennifer Antonik at jantonik@newszap.com

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