After more than nine years at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, Art Bar Creative Dining & Wines is closing.
It will close at the end of this month or early June, said co-owner Bryan Izzard.
The decision to shut down the restaurant was “kind of a mutual thing” between him and the art gallery, he said.
Although the bistro-style restaurant was open six days a week in its early years, in more recent times it was only open for special parties, functions and before and after performances at the adjacent Centre in the Square.
“You can’t really build a full-time business around 100 shows a year (at the Centre),” Izzard said.
Moreover, he just felt it was time to move on. “Ownership of a restaurant for 10 years is very emotionally and mentally all-consuming.”
Art Bar was among the first restaurants in the province to introduce the “small plates concept,” where meals were larger than tapas snacks but smaller than a full dinner, but it may have been too far ahead of its time in doing so, he said.
His proudest accomplishment was launching a summer cooking school for kids at the Kitchener Market and at Glen Acres Church in Waterloo. Last year, it attracted 300 students and this year he is expecting an enrolment of 300 to 400.
Art Bar has four full-time staff, five or six part-time and another dozen occasional employees, he said.
Trained as a sommelier at George Brown College in Toronto, the 42-year-old Izzard is not sure what he will do next. “I want to clear my head and think about my options.”
Officials from the art gallery could not be reached for comment on what they plan to use the space for in future.