Scott’s Addition restaurant Perch serves final meal and shuts down after 4 years

Perch’s last day of service was on Saturday. The space at 2918 W. Broad St. is now available for sublease. (Mike Platania photo)

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.”

Co-owner Mike Ledesma, who also opened Instabowl and The Coop in the Fan, said the call to shut down Perch was made on May 28. (BizSense file)

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.

Perch’s last day of service was on Saturday. The space at 2918 W. Broad St. is now available for sublease. (Mike Platania photo)

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.”

Co-owner Mike Ledesma, who also opened Instabowl and The Coop in the Fan, said the call to shut down Perch was made on May 28. (BizSense file)

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.

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Robbie Asplund
Robbie Asplund
1 month ago

This is a huge loss, and must have been a gut-wrenching decision. Chef Mike is an inspirational kind of guy, and Perch set such a high bar for cuisine, service, and an overall unique experience in Richmond dining. I really, really hope that the entire staff is able to quickly get re-employed at places they can thrive.

Also kind of bummed I didn’t get to use my last gift card there, but that’s on me for slacking…

Craig Davis
Craig Davis
1 month ago

sorry to see Perch close – always a big fan and regret not going there more often.

Josh Alley
Josh Alley
1 month ago

Posts on Reddit indicate employees were told at the end of their shift. Not cool.

Jackson Joyner
Jackson Joyner
1 month ago
Reply to  Josh Alley

What if they were told prior to arriving or as soon as they arrived? There is really no best time, but it seems the best way to continue serving the customers on the last night. Right now, restaurants are desperate for staff. I hope they all have new jobs by this weekend.

Dr. Abe C. Gomez
Dr. Abe C. Gomez
1 month ago
Reply to  Josh Alley

As long as they were paid for their time what does it matter? Since you’re the expert here when should have they been notified?

Matt Faris
Matt Faris
1 month ago
Reply to  Josh Alley

That’s the way a closing happens. No way he could have maintained a staff and had paying customers for a couple of weeks. The sooner his employees were notified, the sooner they could move forward. As bad as it may seem, I’m sure that it was necessary. Good luck to all involved.

Ed Christina
Ed Christina
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt Faris

Matt;
If you showed up to work and were told at 5PM you were fired would you like it, or would you think it was more appropriate to tell people two weeks in advance?
The staff has bills to pay, and leaving them high and dry with no notice (if thats what happened) is a very crappy thing to do.

Matt Faris
Matt Faris
29 days ago
Reply to  Ed Christina

No I wouldn’t like it, Ed, but if I worked in the restaurant industry I would understand that it’s part of the risk, particularly when the entire business was closing. Some businesses are days or weeks to finish their work, while some are day-to-day. like food service. Would I stay if there were a mass exodus and those folks got hired while I stayed at a dead end job for 2 weeks? Nope! Hence the golden parachutes executives receive. Do you think there would be anything left to serve (food or silverware) after two weeks? One week? When is there… Read more »

Matt Faris
Matt Faris
29 days ago
Reply to  Matt Faris

(edit) I want to be clear, I know no one involved, and I feel horrible for those that are. It’s just unavoidable in some situations. Low cash may mean no insurance, no purchasing power,
no rent, no payment. other issues that no one is aware of may be to blame. Good employees usually find work. Unemployment is at 3-4%(allegedly).

No one knows all the details. I wish them luck.

Ed Christina
Ed Christina
27 days ago
Reply to  Matt Faris

“Remember, a job is not a right, its a privilege.”

And that’s why people can’t get staffed enough to stay open all the hours they want. I look forward to your explanation of why restaurant workers deserve fewer rights and less honestly and courtesy than people in other industries.

Matt Faris
Matt Faris
26 days ago
Reply to  Ed Christina

Ed, I tried to do that in my earlier posts. Short term transactions and generally spur of the moment decisions food industry and similar)make it far different than businesses that take years to provide a service or product (engineering or architecture). Consider the server: Word gets out of closing ]n days. People stop coming, servers make no tips, food is wasted, servers leave t find other work Do they bother giving same notice? Usually not. Finally, I never suggested restaurant workers deserve fewer rights than similar workers, nor did I suggest honesty or courtesy was missing. In fact, quite the… Read more »

Ed Christina
Ed Christina
26 days ago
Reply to  Matt Faris

Well according to quotes in the article people came in for a shirt, and were told at the end of the shirt the were closing. Zero notice. I am still waiting for for an explanation as to why its less important that a human being , who has rent to pay and kids to feed, should be given notice in one scenario and not another. Aren’t both sets of people due the same treatment? Your real answer is “Oh the guy who owns the restaurant does not want to take a chance so he should screw over the staff” because… Read more »

Matt Faris
Matt Faris
26 days ago
Reply to  Ed Christina

Ed, all people deserve respectful and fair treatment. What’s fair when a shop suddenly closes? I suspect most employees get the notice and are released immediately, regardless of the job. At least in this industry, restaurants seem to help one another. And, I can give my “real answer”. Anyone in the industry who knows me know exactly where I stand on employee treatment. You seem to know more bout the matter than I do. I’ll refrain from calling out the owner until I know the story. If he is screwing over his workers, I’ll gladly call him out. I wonder… Read more »

Jackson Joyner
Jackson Joyner
26 days ago
Reply to  Matt Faris

Well, you must own and operate business. How many employees do you have and what was your “stand” when you had to let one, or several go?

Matt Faris
Matt Faris
26 days ago
Reply to  Jackson Joyner

Jackson, I do not. I did years ago but it was an entirely different business model (consulting). I’m just surprised at some reactions about a food service closing, and the impacts to workers after 2 years of Covid, inflation and supply issues in an industry that averages 50% failure in 3 years without those factors.

Heck, I see “Help Wanted” signs in half the restaurants i pass. Hopefully these former employees can find work soon.

Jackson Joyner
Jackson Joyner
26 days ago
Reply to  Ed Christina

Ed, do you own and operate a business? If so, how many employees do you have and what was your process when you had to let one, or several go? How did you handle the demise of you dream business if you ever lost one? I suspect you have never been is that position, since you seem to know exactly how thing should go in a situation like this.

Chris Crews
Chris Crews
26 days ago
Reply to  Matt Faris

Hi. 40-year restaurant guy here. On the one hand, sure: “We’re closing tonight. Thanks for the good times.” You want to protect your brand, protect your inventory, reduce the risk of an employee going out with one last BIG BANG. In the corporate world, and I’ve lived this, a couple of dudes in suits show up late on a Sunday night. “We’re from corporate. We’re closing this dump down tonight. Call all of your staff and let them know that they can come in the morning and collect any personal items. The sheriff’s department will be here in a moment.”… Read more »

Matt Faris
Matt Faris
26 days ago
Reply to  Chris Crews

Great points Chris. I would only wonder \how the discussion took place on that last evening, and whether the chef had any control of the situation – he had a partner. I try to hope he did all he could for his employees as o6pposed to assuming a worst case scenario.

Thanks for insight.

Jess Berry
Jess Berry
1 month ago

I love how this article gives no mention to the staff being given no warning. That’s both FOH and BOH. Walked in that day to find out they don’t have jobs.

I’d love to know how they are helping their staff (if at all) in this transition?