Cork Restaurant suspended operations for the summer Tuesday, June 1, and, according to a statement released five days earlier, the restaurant’s future is indefinite.
According to the statement: “It is with sad but optimistic outlooks that Cork owners Bob and Lisa Morris and Howard Rooks emphasize their open attitude to options for the business’ future.
“Options include rebranding with modern renovations, integrating a new operating partner and/or leasing or selling to another restaurant entity.”
Rooks opened the two-story restaurant in February 2007 with his daughter and son-in-law, Lisa and Bob Morris. The top story offered upscale cuisine, while the bottom floor was more casual, with dine-in and take-home options and retail wine and liquor. Rooks said that the decision to close the restaurant, located at 29 Blvd. of the Presidents on St. Armands Circle, is the result of a season that was slower than the previous year.
“It hasn’t been awful, but it hasn’t been as good as in the past,” Rooks told The Longboat Observer.
Cork will undergo minor renovations after it closes, including the expansion of its back room. Rooks said that if a new restaurant entity does not move into the location, Cork will re-open, most likely in October. If Cork does re-open, it will possibly feature an updated menu, Rooks said.
“While we are uncertain about the details of the future, we view the closing as a tremendous opportunity to move into a more financially successful venture,” Bob Morris said in the statement.
In its three years of operations, Cork, which served contemporary bistro cuisine along with wines and spirits, was named “Best New Restaurant” by Florida Trend magazine.
Rooks said that he is optimistic about the future of Cork or another restaurant in the building due to its optimal location and contemporary design.
“There’s no reason why it can’t be a whopping success,” he said.
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