Fresh off the news that its acclaimed Thai restaurant Foreign Correspondents has closed, Treadsack, the Heights-based restaurant group behind Down House, Hunky Dory, and others, announced on social media that on December 31 it will also close Canard, the cocktail bar that shared a space with Foreign Correspondents.
"It’s really true that Foreign Correspondents and Canard despite being different concepts relied on each other. When we closed Foreign Correspondents, we tried to make the best of it," Treadsack co-owner Chris Cusack tells CultureMap. Unfortunately, after a slow Monday night at Canard, Cusack and Treadsack's management decided they couldn't separate the bar from the restaurant.
With the future of the space still uncertain, the company decided to close the bar. As a way to say thank you to the people who have supported it, Canard will sell all of its cocktails for $5. Most spirits will also be $5, with some premium spirits at $10.
"In the world of the best ways to deal with a closing, I’m able to do at Canard what I wished I could have done at Foreign Correspondents," Cusack says. "We talked it over (with the staff) and worked it out in a way we can give our guests one more visit and let our employees make money through the holidays."
Since Foreign Correspondents closed, rumors have swirled that the restaurant hadn't been paying its employees. Cusack acknowledges some problems but says they've been resolved.
"Paychecks bounced because the restaurant didn’t make any money. All those we’ve replaced or given cash on the spot," he says. "I will never let anyone go unpaid."
Are the problems at Foreign Correspondents a sign of the beginning of the end for Treadsack? Was the process of opening five bars and restaurants in 15 months simply too taxing financially to generate sustainable revenue?
"Definitely not," Cusack says. "You do learn more from failure than you do from success. I’ve had to take a really hard look at what brought us here and how we can avoid that . . . I’m going to take the lessons I learned to heart and answer the challenge."
Initially, Cusack says he thought the biggest lesson from Foreign Correspondents' failure was that it was too ambitious, but he says he's come to a slightly different conclusion.
"Now having had a little time to wrap my head around it, I’m convinced that not listening to guests was the biggest problem," he says. "What they say and what they don’t say. Where they go and how they choose to spend their money is the biggest lesson, and I think I ignored that."