And things at Birch’s Lowertown had been going so… fine… too!
“Before COVID-19 the restaurant and tap room were doing very well,*” said co-owner Burt Joseph, in a statement released early Tuesday. “Our lower-level piano bar was filled every week with customers enjoying our live music. Unfortunately, when we were able to reopen after the mandated closure, we were the only restaurant in Market House Collaborative to do so, and we weren’t able to regain any momentum," he lamented.
In recent months, Market House Collaborative, which has been home to Birch’s, also lost some of its flagship tenants, including Salty Tart and Octo Fish Bar.
"The shortened Saints season and reduced capacity also contributed, and we didn’t see the traffic we anticipated,” Joseph continued, listing his woes in what has truly been a trying year for anyone in the food and beverage industry.
This time last year, Birch’s Lowertown was put up for sale. Things at Market House were still humming along nicely. The Saints had just wrapped up a normal season. And COVID-19 didn't yet exist.
At the time, Birch’s co-owner and brewmaster Brennan Greene told The Growler, “We’re not losing money, but we’re also not really making money, so it just kinda seems like we’re killing ourselves for not much, and we wanted to see if it was an option out there for someone who maybe wanted to start their own brewery, but maybe didn’t want to go through all the effort of getting everything done themselves.”
Still no one bought their business that they admitted wasn’t making money.
So, I’m also not buying what they’re selling today.
It’s (genuinely) always a shame to lose any small business in the Twin Cities food and drink community, but enough with the finger pointing. If ever there were a time to own one’s failures, it’s now. (We understand how hard it is right now, too!) Maybe just don’t blame minor league baseball and the choices of your culinary compatriots when it comes down to it, though.
For fans of Birch’s Lowertown who are gutted by the watering hole's impending closure, there’s still time to squeeze in one last croon at their Barrel House Cabaret piano bar before ye olde ebony and ivory are rehomed to Birch’s Long Lake location. The Lowertown joint will remain open through October 17, offering full service and to-go beer Wednesday through Sundays, from 4 to 9 p.m.