After just more than two years in business, Lasher’s Kitchen is calling it quits on Second Street.
Owner Ray Lasher and his wife Lynn, who raised their three children in Belmont Shore, said they plan to remain active in the community they call home, but they are closing the doors to the restaurant Saturday, July 20.
Until then, there’s a little time left to get Lasher’s famous meatloaf at 5295 E. Second St., and customers have been keeping the seats filled ever since word has gotten out about the closure.
“It’s a good time to exit,” Lasher said about closing the kitchen, which originally operated as a fine dining establishment from 1996 to 2012 on Broadway before moving to the Shore in 2017.
“Our timing for closing is based on many things,” he continued. “The Shore isn’t able to support our restaurant at this time, and it’s time for us to go. We just haven’t had high enough volume.”
He noted that rent was reasonable and not a factor in the decision to close. However, Lasher was critical of business fees and licensing as well as minimum wage increases.
And, he said the Shore “needs more relevant retail” and “marketing in the 21st Century” as it’s been impacted by online shopping trends and cultural shifts in the city, including competition from developments downtown, in north Atlantic Avenue and on the east side around Douglas Park and Second and PCH.
“I’m sensitive to the transition happening in the Shore,” he said. “The Shore used to be the only place, and it is no longer… Others are taking pieces of the pie.”
Lasher, who also owns a restaurant consulting business, is still negotiating with buyers interested in the lease and kitchen assets, so he couldn’t say what type of restaurant might take over the space.
In its last few days, he said a few regular customers have actually started to cry as they’ve come in to say goodbye. Lasher said he’s grateful to everyone who supported the restaurant, contributed to all the positive reviews online, and those who hosted events there to help local charities.
“We are going out on the right note,” he said. “Lynn and I still plan to be a part of the community, but it’s time to take the next step and move on to the next adventure.”
Restaurateurs or not, Lasher and his wife said they're going to remain committed to eating out locally at other restaurants at least once a week, and they hope others in the community also come out and support the businesses on Second Street.