June 22, 2012
Follow-up: Landlord not to blame in closure of Scott's Seafood

Following up on a post here a few days ago about the closure of Scott's Seafood at Loehmann's Plaza, it seems as if many readers may have gotten the wrong idea about the negotiations of the lease terms. Scott's co-owner Alan Irvine tells me the landlord has been receiving angry emails since the news came out. (Scott's two other Sacramento area restaurants remain open and are doing well).

Irvine explained that since the recession hit in 2008, the Scott's at Loehmann's Plaza had been especially hard hit, thanks to an aging demographic in the area and increased competition nearby.

"I stopped taking a salary two or three years ago. We shared our information with the landlord and they initially helped us through one year and we repaid that," he said. "It didn't get any better and we basically paid what we could after that. They were very reasonable with us, but there came a point where we realized we just couldn't continue."

Scores of regulars reacted angrily upon hearing the bad news. Some offered to protest. Others sent unpleasant emails to the landlord.

"People thought they were holding it over us and that they were the big, bad landlord. It's definitely not the case. We were able to negotiate an exit strategy that worked for both of us," Irvine said.

The lease ended last November and Scott's had been leasing on a month-to-month basis since, Irvine said. The building is 6,298 square feet and seats 175, with another 44 in the banquet area.'

An upscale seafood restaurant like Scott's has little direct competition in Sacramento. It's possible that the newer, glitzier location along the Sacramento River was luring customers away from the 20-year-old Loehmann's Plaza restaurant. Irvine said there are no plans to open a third restaurant elsewhere. The other is in Folsom.

"We're just to concentrate on the two that we have. They are far enough apart that they will work well," he said.

Since the announcement about the closure a couple of days ago, reaction has been swift, emotional and largely positive.

"There have been a lot of very positive, supportive comments," Irvine said. "Everybody has their own story - they celebrated an anniversary here, they proposed to their future wife here. Everybody seems to have a connection. We had an impact on the community. We were part of the community."

Blair Anthony Robertson is The Bee's restaurant critic. Follow him on Twitter, @blarob.

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