After just under a year in business, C. Tsar’s in Newtonville has closed its doors for good.
The Mediterranean bistro began its life after husband-and-wife owners Christos Tsardounis and Kathleen Malloy changed the concept of their destination restaurant, Ariadne, to reflect the changing tastes of diners hungry for more regular, accessible fare.
Unfortunately, this shift was not enough to combat the unstable economy and the move away from dining out as a form of entertainment.
“When we changed the concept to the more neighborhood friendly C. Tsar's, we made every effort to be as inexpensive as we possibly could in a space that expensive to operate, but the neighborhood did not respond the way we hoped they would,” stated Malloy in an email sent September 27.
Ariadne opened in 2002 and was a very successful restaurant in a spot that had previously seen four failed ventures in the space of ten years, according to Malloy. In September of 2010, recognizing the loss of expensed business dinners and wanting to court a neighborhood clientele, Tsardounis and Malloy changed their concept and rebranded as C. Tsar’s.
But high rent and the staggering utility bills for a restaurant of that size were simply too much for them. In late August, C. Tsar’s shuttered its doors and sold off its equipment and furnishings to the public. Customers who walked by and those who had Groupons for the restaurant were left wondering what had happened.
According to Malloy’s email, the Groupon deal was also a factor in their having to close up shop.
“We did Groupon in December 2009 and at first we thought it was great. We were super busy and people loved it,” she states. “We decided to give Groupon another try over the summer. We figured this time people would have to spend something on top of the Groupon, but much to my amazement (and dismay) 70 percent of the Groupon checks were for less than $40.”
Groupon has already alerted customers who have not yet utilized their Groupons that their money will be refunded.
Malloy and Tsardounis are “heartbroken,” but she has maintained as positive an attitude as can be expected under such difficult circumstances.
“Maybe it will be like the line in the Barbra Streisand song ‘What’s too painful to remember we simply choose to forget,’” she writes. “Maybe someday I’ll remember all the good times and all the heart break and disappointment will fade away. When it all seems too much I just think about my kids and how wonderful they are. I know as long as they are healthy and safe that’s all that really matters.”