The owners of Dominique's, a stylish restaurant in The Brokerage, said yesterday that they have shut down the restaurant portion of the business and will keep only its catering and party operation.
The move comes two months after Dominique's reopened after closing because of financial pressures that drove it to file for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
When the restaurant reopened in October, it did so with a menu and prices scaled down from those of its flagship Washington restaurant, which sells alligator steaks and rattlesnake meat.
But Herbert Ezrin, co-owner of Dominique's, said yesterday that traditional fare and lower prices have not put the restaurant on the road to profitability. As a result, the restaurant has shut its doors to the lunch and dinner crowd and will hold only parties in the South Frederick Street building, such as the two corporate Christmas gatherings held there Tuesday night.
The Baltimore Dominique's had annual revenues averaging about $1.8 million, but they were steadily dropping, Mr. Ezrin said. Dominique's in Washington has annual revenues averaging $4 million and growing, he said.
Mr. Ezrin said he blames the Baltimore restaurant's failing not on the concept but on the circumstances. The bankrupt Brokerage is scheduled to be auctioned, and the nearby Fishmarket has been closed for more than a year. Both, he said, have put a crimp in business.
Mr. Ezrin said he hopes the catering-only concept will work but that if it doesn't, he might be forced to sell the operation.