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Owners to consider options; Youngstown restaurant going out with a bang
By Terry Duffy
As Youngstown merchants held their “Third Thursday on Main” evening specials this week, one business surprised many of its patrons with an unexpected announcement. The Mug & Musket, a five-year fixture on the village pub/entertainment scene, revealed plans to shut down – at least temporarily.
“Yes it is true,” Mug & Musket co-owner Catherine Stella said. “We will close the doors on the Mug & Musket this Sunday evening. We are immensely sad, but also profoundly grateful for the experience. We will be taking the next few months to evaluate our options. You probably haven’t seen the last of us!”
Catherine, joined by her husband, Mike, said that, while they have certainly enjoyed their time in the village, costs began to grow out of hand. This was particularly true in regard to maintenance and repair issues with the building, which has been under ownership by village interests headed by Dr. Jerry Andres.
“We were looking at replacing freezers, kitchen equipment, not to mention the roof,” said Mike, who estimated the costs at more than $150,000.
On top of that, he revealed an annual tax impact of nearly $36,000 on the business. That, coupled with sluggish business conditions – particularly in the winter months – prompted the Stellas to reconsider their options when purchase discussions came about with the ownership group. They considered an initial price tag for the building to be too high.
The couple did not reveal the asking price. The building is currently listed for sale by Great Lakes Reality.
“We have to look at our options,” said Mike, noting the involvement of his family in the business. “Look, we like what we’ve been doing here. We got into this for our kids.”
Pointing to his culinary staff in the kitchen, Mike said, “They’ve made their mark here.”
With that, both Catherine and Mike said they are considering their options, including reopening at another location in the River Region.
“We’re looking around. Hey, I’ve put a lot into this, I’m not done,” Catherine said.
She explained the couple would vacation and then consider their plans for the future, with a possibility of returning to the area’s restaurant scene sometime in 2020.
The Stellas are putting out the invite for patrons to join them to say goodbye this weekend.
“Come on out for one more Friday fish fry, one more great musical event on Saturday, one more football game on Sunday. It’s been one heck of a fun ride,” Catherine said.
Mug & Musket will host a “Blowout Party” and inventory sale with tons of discounts and drink specials this Sunday, starting in the afternoon.
The Stellas will close their doors for the final time Sunday night.
“This isn’t goodbye, it’s only a ‘see you later,’ ” Catherine said.