Blue Rock Cafe closes doors on uncertain future

by Tim Troglen | reporter Published:

Hudson -- A Darrow Road cafe which has been a venue for local musicians to play their trade while audience members enjoyed food and beverages has closed and could be sold.

The final show for the Blue Rock Cafe, which offered live music and food at 5827 Darrow Road, was July 3.

According to co-owner Larry Terkel, there was not enough business to keep the cafe open during the summer months.

"The Blue Rock has closed," Terkel said July 14. "The most immediate problem is summers -- summer has killed us."

Revenues were down 60 to 70 percent during the summers, Terkel said.

Terkel and fellow Hudsonite Matt Lerner purchased the building in 2009, which formerly housed Bitter's Bones and Barley BBQ.

The availability of free summer music concerts in Hudson and surrounding areas, along with Cleveland Indians's baseball games and Blossom Music Center performances has put a crimp on attendance, according to Terkel.

"It's packed," Terkel said of Hudson's live weekend music on the Green. "You can certainly get your live music fix."

So, the business is up for sale.

"The future is uncertain. It won't re-open the way it was," Terkel said. "It needs to be a restaurant with some live music. It can't be a night club, in effect, with a little food. It wasn't enough support."

The business could reopen with a new look and menu in the future, but that is not a certainty, according to Terkel.

"We are talking to some restaurant people who would offer a reason to come for food and stay for the music, instead of just coming for the music," Terkel said. However, for now, the cafe remains closed.

"Business was off in the summer, and that has been a problem from the get-go," Terkel said. "And then trying to make up for our losses in the summer has been a challenge."

The cafe owners are 2.5 years into a 3-year lease, Terkel said.

"The time to close is in the summer because we are not going to make it back in the fall," Terkel said of the lost revenue. "It does not pay to stay open the rest of the summer."

The cafe needs "someone more skilled in food presentation to come in and make it a restaurant with live music instead of a music venue with a little food," Terkel said.

"We didn't make any money off of the music," Terkel said. "All the money went to the bands. And we were not doing enough revenue-producing business selling food."

Many people came into the cafe to listen to music, but did not order food or drinks, Terkel said.

"That is not recipe for success," Terkel added. "We passed the hat for the bands and they also had a percentage of sales. We just could not get the formula to work."

The formula Terkel referred to was making the cafe a suburban music venue that attracted a slightly older crowd, Terkel said.

"We were a suburban, older-generation fun place," Terkel said. "But the revenue never added up to enough."

On a good night, the 2,400-square-foot club could accommodate up to 150 people, Terkel said.

"And we had lots of nights when it was packed and you would have thought we were making money hand over fist, A lot of people did. It was a shock to people," Terkel said. "It did not add up to enough -- especially in the summer."

Email: ttroglen@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9435

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