Ryan McCaskey, chef and owner of Michelin-starred Acadia, had already planned three weeks of décor refreshing and repairs in July when he came to work the morning of Tuesday, June 16 to and found part of the ceiling had collapsed. Intense storms the night before and a roof that had received patchwork over full replacement (against McCaskey's desires), collided with one another to necessitate immediate attention.
Rather than re-open with visible damage, McCaskey made the decision to temporarily close for an extra two weeks. "It's not even the cost of the repairs," that bothers McCaskey, "it's the loss of revenue and business." He mentions not wanting to upset people who had made special plans to dine at the restaurant, but the damage twisted his arm. And, despite paying his staff for some of the unexpected time off, he believes some will not come back when he re-opens.
"We are a true, independently owned restaurant. It's just me," he says. "When things like this happen, people don't understand, there's a contingency that we barely have enough for." He refutes persistent rumors that his family has a stake in Acadia. "We're not owned by the Bears. If we were it might be a way different story. There's a lot of misconceptions about (the restaurant) and me." To underline his point, he mentions that he still drives a "shitty" Pontiac that has "been towed four times and is being held together by zip ties and hangers."
To help with the costs of repairing and refreshing the restaurant, McCaskey is hosting an invite only barbecue fundraiser, and hopes to do another fundraiser as a pop-up at an as-yet-unnamed Michelin-starred restaurant in the beginning of July.
McCaskey is excited for what diners can expect once the restaurant re-opens July 22. Anticipate new dining room chairs (made in North Carolina), new bar stools with expanded seating in the bar area ("The bar is just slammed every night," he says), the return of a beverage director to the restaurant (the person will be named in July), a champagne cart, an expanded wine selection (possibly up to 500 selections), new carpeting, refurbished dining room tables, and, the one thing older clientele ask for the most, an outdoor sign. "My parents remind me of this every day. People in (their) generation that have money to eat (at Acadia) can't find the place."
When Acadia re-opens on July 22 McCaskey expects that the "gangbusters" business the restaurant has been doing since April will return. "We're still the second cheapest Michelin restaurant in the city (next to Longman & Eagle). There's incredible value (in the menu)."