The Avenue Café, which opened nearly two years ago after Monterey restaurant closed its doors in November 2010, seems to have followed in that eatery’s footsteps, after the cafe abruptly shut its doors two weeks ago.
The Avenue Café, located at 20 W. Park Ave., had opened under new owner Vasilis Tsiropoulos in 2011 after Monterey sold the business, and the new operators made some significant changes.
General Manager George Tsiropoulos, who previously owned Café Doran in Hewlett, told the Herald shortly after the new owners purchased the business that the restaurant’s décor would continue to boast Monterey’s trendy, modern flair, but that the café would include a menu with “diner” prices.
However, Long Beach Chamber of Commerce President Michael Kerr said that the restaurant abruptly shut its doors after serving its last dish on Sunday, Sept. 23.
“All of a sudden, people see a sign in the window that said ‘we’re opening the next day, we’re renovating,’” Kerr said.
George Tsiropoulos did not return a call for comment. Kerr said the owners have not returned his calls either, and said that the restaurant seems to have shut its doors permanently.
“They gutted the place,” Kerr said, adding that equipment and fixtures were loaded into a truck shortly after the business closed. “I heard that the bar that was in there, a guy with a big saw was cutting it into three sections. They took the chandeliers as well. It was a leasehold — why would they rip everything out? All those renovations were done by Monterey.”
Kerr said that the owners of the Avenue Café previously owned the Ocean Park Diner in Long Beach. Before Monterey, the 20 West Park Ave. space had formerly been home to restaurant Corbin & Reynolds, and the location has been known for its high-turnover rate.
The Avenue Café was paying $16,000 a month in rent alone, though the landlord had lowered it. Still, with roughly 4,000 square-feet of space, Kerr said that the restaurant may have struggled to meet its overhead costs amid a tough economy. Landlord Richard Marshall did not return a call for comment.