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When a restaurant "goes on vacation"

c
calabasas_trafalgar Feb 26, 2007 02:50 PM

Over the last few years I've noticed a few of my favorite places(Domenico's on Washington in Pasadena, Carmine's in Arcadia)have a week or two in the summer where the place is closed and the entire staff goes on vacation. Is this a common practice? Other than these two I've never encountered it.

  1. t
    thinks too much Apr 3, 2007 07:02 AM

    It's mud season now! The restaurants in ski towns will be closing all over, and now they get to go on vacation. River trips, moutain bike tours, and climbing treks with amazing food cooked over fires. They'll open back up in a couple of weeks.

    1. a
      ap616 Apr 2, 2007 07:23 PM

      I've seen it in St. Martin, during the low season. We were there in September, and all the guide books said St. Martin was the culinary capital of the Caribbean, but all the recommended restaurants were closed for the month, so we were disappointed. I guess when things are slow, the whole staff uses the time to go on vacation, or work on restaurant renovations.

      1. revsharkie Apr 2, 2007 06:52 PM

        Yeah, growing up there were always a couple weeks in the summer when we couldn't go down to Bartlesville to Murphy's because they were on vacation. They always used to be closed the week between Christmas and New Year's, too, but the last time I was down there at Christmas and wanted a hot hamburger we called and found them open.

        1. a
          aurora50 Apr 2, 2007 10:42 AM

          Mitla Cafe in San Bernardino, CA (a Mexican restaurant) closes for a week or two on vacation every summer. They've been doing this ever since I can remember - and I've been going there for over 40 years. Everyone knows to get their "fix" before they close.

          1. coastie Mar 3, 2007 06:22 PM

            Not only do we take vacations but we " deep clean " and get all the maintenence done. Equipment can be disconnected and cleaned and the walls can be painted ....... Hoods and fans.......

            1. Non Cognomina Mar 1, 2007 08:54 PM

              In Napa Valley, a lot of restaurants close for the first week or two of January. January is a very slow month in Napa anyway, and it gives a nice break to the restaurant staff after the long holiday rush of November and December.

              1. jpschust Mar 1, 2007 05:13 AM

                It is common at a few places in DC during August- when congress is out of session and most of the annoying touristas are out of town as well. I love getting my city back even if I lose a few places to eat :)

                1. Den Feb 28, 2007 02:27 PM

                  I live in Philly and I think it's quite common for smaller family run places to close down for some number of weeks for vacation. Around here, they go "down the shore" or back to Italy.

                  1. HeatherFL Feb 28, 2007 11:35 AM

                    The European owned restaurants in our area (Tampa Bay) do this often.

                    1. HillJ Feb 27, 2007 09:38 AM

                      At the NJ shore many restaurants close during the off season, prior to the start of the busy summer season or in the case of seafood restaurants during product availability changes.

                      One particularly popular seafood restaurant, with a loyal 30 year following, experiences a standing room only "welcome back" from customers every year when they return from their annual owner/staff cruise. I remember one year a gleeful customer arrived with flowers & balloons for the owners-which struck me as incredibly odd and sweet at the same time.

                      Customer loyalty is a beautiful thing.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: HillJ
                        tuxedo Apr 2, 2007 10:25 AM

                        Which one are you referring to?

                      2. w
                        wineandcheese Feb 27, 2007 05:19 AM

                        We have a restaurant on the coast of NC. Things here grind to a halt after New Years when it is cold, everyone is on a diet, gets there Christmas credit card bills and has all sorts of crazy resolutions. My husband and I are at the rest. 6 days a week. We take 10 days off in Jan. Honestly, our business is small and almost not worth being open at that time. We all get a break and can get projects done like deep cleans and repairs without having to worry if it takes all day or two. We have found that our customers who are regulars all come right before we close or right after so it compresses the business which is great for the staff.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: wineandcheese
                          SweetPea Mar 1, 2007 03:39 AM

                          One of my favorite places does the same thing the week of the 4th of July.

                        2. JMF Feb 27, 2007 05:09 AM

                          I know several places that do this here in the NYC suburbs. They want to be able to give vacations to their long term staff and so close down for two weeks each winter and summer. This way they always have their best staff and cooks working at all other times. The owners feel that loss of revenue is better than not providing the best experience for their customers.

                          1. hotoynoodle Feb 26, 2007 05:33 PM

                            i've known quite a few places that do this. it usually means they're also pretty strict about staff taking other time off.

                            in seasonal places like nantucket and the vineyard, most places close for at least 3 months in winter. it doesn't pay to stay open.

                            1. Velma Feb 26, 2007 04:09 PM

                              We have a family owned pizza place in our town that does it in the summer every year. They return home to visit family in their home country for about three weeks each June. We have it on our calendar to go in and get our pizza at the end of May before they leave town!

                              1. Lazy Susan Feb 26, 2007 03:40 PM

                                When I used to bartend, a couple of places would do this over the summer (it was a college town), and the owners would take their vacation, but also have the place painted, cleaned, repaired,etc. It was a good move, b/c a manager would stay to make sure that stuff got done right, but it wasn't stuff you could really be open and have done. But boy was the place looking beat up by the time they closed for that week.

                                1. coll Feb 26, 2007 03:14 PM

                                  Out here in the Hamptons (Long Island) the majority close during the month of Jan or/and Feb, obviously this a seasonal place, but even the "local" places close for a week or two around now for major lack of business. Then NYC closes down to some extent in August when everyone escapes to the country.
                                  You'll actually lose money (on labor and utilities) opening during these slow times. Nowadays everything is computerized so they can look at last year's figures and say "let's take a break!" and save a bundle in the process.

                                  1. jfood Feb 26, 2007 03:09 PM

                                    My favorite Italian resto in NYC used to go on vacation every August. I used to eat there at least once a week. The last week in July was always disappointing as I knew I was to go a month without my favorite pasta sauce. One year the owner cam over to my table and asked if everything was OK. I told him I really am going to miss the pasta and house sauce. He told me to go to Walgreen's buy a bunch of plastic containers and bring them back. At 5 o'clock I picked up a month's worth of sauce for my freezer. I was one happy customer.

                                    1. MMRuth Feb 26, 2007 02:53 PM

                                      I believe it is quite typical in Europe - and in New York, I've noticed that quite a few French restaurants seem to do that as well.

                                      1. nummanumma Feb 26, 2007 02:53 PM

                                        i think a *gone fishin* break is likely more commonplace in Europe, but we're seeing more and more places just shutting down for a week or a month in the summer here in Toronto- everyone needs a break right?

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