In the face of rising costs, Perch, a 4-year-old restaurant in Scott’s Addition, has permanently closed.
Co-owner Mike Ledesma said the call to shut down the Pacific Island-inspired spot at 2918 W. Broad St. was made on its final day of service, May 28, after he said he got a call from his business partner Kristoffer Collo, the one who handles the finance side of the business. He told Ledesma their time was up.
“When I got that phone call, I knew it was the end,” Ledesma said. “I had to tell the team that we’re closed, it’s over.”
Ledesma said there’d been some warning signs the restaurant was on the ropes, caused by factors such as the rising cost of food, labor and rent, as well as meal taxes.
“The chefs and front of house (staff), they were signing new leases (for homes) and wanted more money and there was nothing to give, nothing left to earn,” Ledesma said. “Perch had a lot of fixed expenses, and the variable costs were all over the place.”
Outside the problems brought on by the broader economy, Ledesma said he’s been thinking about what else might have doomed Perch.
“I think maybe my price point was a little too high, maybe the location was not approachable enough,” he said. “I don’t know. There’s a lot of questions, a lot of coulda-shoulda-woulda.”
Perch’s 4,400-square-foot building is owned by Charles Bice and Birck Turnbull, who redeveloped the property in 2016. It was previously home to Joy Garden Chinese for over 60 years.
Bice said their relationship with Ledesma and Collo has been great and that he’s sad to see them go.
“They arrived at a decision, and we were part of the conversation,” Bice said of the closure. “We’re proactively working to bring in a new tenant. We’re very optimistic about finding someone. The physical plant there is in great shape. For the right operator, it’s ready to go.”
After years in the kitchen of local restaurants like Max’s On Broad and The Hard Shell, Ledesma stepped out on his own with Perch in 2018.
He doubled his holdings in 2020 when he opened Instabowl in the former Acacia Mid-Town space at 2601 W. Cary St. in the Fan. The spot was quickly rebranded into a ghost kitchen called The Coop.
Acacia owners Aline and Dale Reitzer, meanwhile, are now preparing to bring back their concept in Libbie Mill.
Ledesma said he’d like to someday have another restaurant, but he’s now going to focus on his work as a private chef in addition to running The Coop.
“I need a little bit before I jump into something else. This took a little of the wind out of my sails,” he said.