Living

Downtown restaurant and bar The Republican to close

Server Zion Gan, center, serves up lunch to Derrick Reimer, 27, left, of Reedley, Rob Walling, 40, second from left, of Fresno, Ian Nance, 35, second from right, of Fresno and Anna Jacobsen, 27, of Fresno, at The Republican, which opened in early November, in the old The Downtown Club building on Thursday, November 12, 2015 on Kern Street in downtown Fresno, California.
Server Zion Gan, center, serves up lunch to Derrick Reimer, 27, left, of Reedley, Rob Walling, 40, second from left, of Fresno, Ian Nance, 35, second from right, of Fresno and Anna Jacobsen, 27, of Fresno, at The Republican, which opened in early November, in the old The Downtown Club building on Thursday, November 12, 2015 on Kern Street in downtown Fresno, California. sflores@fresnobee.com

Eight months after the Downtown Club reopened as The Republican, it’s getting ready to close its doors again.

Owner Kate McKnight announced in a Facebook post today that the restaurant and bar would close at the end of the month.

“Ultimately, the overhead is too high and the total sales are too low,” she says in the post.

Reached by phone, she added that the restaurant didn’t do enough business to cover the cost of running the large building, including rent and the cost of air conditioning a space with so many skylights. The struggle to get people to come downtown may have also been a part of it, she says.

“I’ve had days when I had six people for lunch,” she says. That would be followed by large events, but business was inconsistent and dropped off in recent weeks.

“If I was sitting on lots of capital, I could weather that, but I don’t have that,” she says. McKnight and general manager Bethany James have been operating the business in recent months as co-founder Ephiram Bosse focuses on his other business, Goldstein’s Mortuary & Delicatessen in the Tower District.

The closure is surely a disappoint for downtown supporters, including McKnight who has long advocated for downtown.

The Republican will be open for lunch and dinner the week of June 13, and limited hours the following week. McKnight is planning a “big booze blowout” with drinks and food. A date has yet to be set, but we’ll keep you updated.

“We’ll just celebrate what we had and say goodbye to customers,” she says.

Bethany Clough: 559-441-6431, @BethanyClough

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