by Ian Froeb
Root (1135 South Big Bend Boulevard, Richmond Heights; 314-781-2345) announced via Twitter this morning that it was closed, effective immediately, only three weeks after it opened.
Chef Brian Hardesty tells Gut Check that he was at the restaurant, placing his produce order, when he got the news from Bud Starr, owner of Starrs, in which Root is located.
Hardesty says, "Bud walks up to me, asks me to get off the phone, says he's shutting down the restaurant, he's losing too much money."
In addition, claims Hardesty, "[Starr] says he's scared of me. He says I'm mean."
Hardesty is incredulous: "We haven't gotten started yet. We just opened."
Gut Check called Starrs for comment. The employee with whom we spoke said that Starr himself was unavailable. When we asked for confirmation that he'd closed Root, the employee told us we would have to call back.
More as we learn it.
Update (Friday, February 10, 3:30 p.m.): "Losing money, had to close," Bud Starr says when he returns our call this afternoon. "Bleeding like a stuck pig."
"It's strictly a financial matter," he adds. "It's nothing about Brian."
(When asked about Hardesty's comments, Starr says he doesn't want to address any "personality" issues.)
Though Root was less than a month old, Starr noted a decrease in reservations week-to-week: "There's only so many foodies. They're not out here.
"I didn't see [Root] ever turning a profit. I'm very disappointed."
"What I'm going to do is just wine events, wine tastings. We will never reopen as a restaurant again."