La Chandeleur restaurant closes after 1 year due to pandemic

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 11:34 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2021 at 11:58 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - When La Chandeleur opened in October 2020, it was a packed house. Woodlawn Avenue in Beechmont had a unique attraction in the French creperie.

Owner Kyle Thomas had perfected the menu with his successful food truck by the same name, and the restaurant, originally intended as a commissary for the truck, kept growing.

“Even though it was still the middle of COVID, we had very high hopes,” Thomas said. “We were certain it was going to work "

Less than two months after opening day, Gov. Andy Beshear banned indoor dining, and Thomas said $6,000 worth of food in the restaurant spoiled. It wiped out all the profits they made and made it impossible to reopen without funding.

La Chandeleur received nearly $60,000 in state and federal grants, but Thomas said that the money didn’t go far.

“We owed so much money by that time and were so backed up from not being open that three quarters of those grants I had to write checks immediately for,” he said.

Thomas reopened the restaurant but laid off staff and worked most of the roles himself to cut costs. Eventually, he said it all became too much.

“I just can’t do this anymore,” Thomas said. “I’ve been the head executive chef, janitor, maintenance guy, line cook, prep cook, all at the same time.”

Taking to Facebook to share his story, Thomas said he was battling depression and working more than 80 hours a week.

“The only thing I’m worried about right now is trying to sell this place and get above water,” Thomas said. “We’re drowning, and my house is attached to it, and I can’t lose my house.”

Stacy Roof, the CEO of the Kentucky Restaurant Association, said that although the state lost more restaurants than normal, she is more worried about staffing issues that could lead to more closures.

Thomas said he still plans to operate his food truck for the time being. To see when and where it will be, click here.

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