by Ian Froeb
I hate to begin the new year with bad news. However:
The sushi restaurant and cocktail lounge Miso on Meramec (16 North Meramec Avenue, Clayton; 314-863-7888) will close this weekend after eleven and a half years.
Owner Brad Beracha announced the news via e-mail this past weekend and on Miso's Facebook page Monday.
Updated with comment from Beracha after the jump.
"It was a great run," Beracha tells me this morning. "I'm not in mourning yet."
I wasn't able to reach Beracha directly this morning.. In his e-mail, Beracha offered several reasons for the restaurant's shuttering:
...the major shift in the overall business climate in Clayton that began with the early implementation of the smoking ban, followed by the deterioration of the economy, has proven too difficult to overcome. My efforts to help restore vibrancy to the area were met with many challenges, ultimately leading to my decision to close the restaurant.
Beracha explains that throughout 2012 he attempted to work with the city of Clayton to create a Community Improvement District, or CID, but to no avail.
"Everyone was struggling so mightily," he says. "[The CID plan] was met with so much resistance. At the end of day, you wonder: Do they really care? Once I got so much resistance from city officials -- and I had supoprt from the aldermen -- I realized the climate was not going change."
He adds, "Just looking at '13, if I have to go through another year of the same, it had little appeal to me."
Beracha believes that Clayton has become a destination for what he terms "one-stop shopping." Rather than attracting patrons who might go from one restaurant to a bar to another bar over the course of an evening, Clayton now draws those who visit one place and then depart.
"The traffic up on Meramec is so bad compared to what it used to be," he says.
In his e-mail Beracha wrote that a relocation of the Miso concept is under consideration, but "nothing is currently in the works."
Miso will be open for dinner through this Friday, January 4. On Saturday, January 5, it will host a farewell party in its "Underground" lounge.