HALIFAX - Another restaurant has closed its doors in downtown Halifax, and the owner says it’s because of inconsistent business from a weak customer base.
Brussels Restaurant and Brasserie was evicted from its location on Granville Street Tuesday after not paying rent in January and February.
Owner Boris Mirtchev said he made a difficult decision to “stop subsidizing” the restaurant after five years of losses.
“We’ll get some spurts in business, we’ll get some decent weekends… overall, we just weren’t making money,” he said.
Mirtchev, who owns the Hamachi Group of restaurants, said he expects Brussels’ seven full-time employees will be offered positions with his other operations.
He said he opened Brussels as an homage to the cafes that adorn walking streets throughout Europe.
However, it suffered from a lack of residential density downtown and an inconspicuous location in Granville Square.
“Unfortunately, Halifax didn’t appreciate that part of town,” he said. “I think there should be more office people going out, even if they take a brown bag lunch, just go and enjoy that nice public space.”
The executive director of the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia said downtown restaurants like Brussels and the Hart and Thistle – which closed last month – don’t have a year-round residential customer base to cover the rising costs of power, water, taxes, rent and food.
“In the summer, you couldn’t ask for a better location,” he said. “But a full-time restaurant paying the kind of rent they are and taxes they are cannot afford to run a business on six months a year.”
A spokesperson for Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, which owns the building, said the eviction was a difficult decision.
“Brussels is a wonderful tenant to have and a lot of people from here frequent the restaurant,” said communications director Marilyn Smulders. “They’ve been good to work with and NSCAD’s been supportive of them over the years, so it’s unfortunate.”