About this time yesterday, we were told that the venerable Acme Bar & Grill on Great Jones was closing after 25 years. As we pointed out, Fork in the Road and DNAinfo also verified that the restaurant was history. But then! Owner Bob Pollock left a comment at Grub Street late yesterday afternoon saying they would just be closed for renovations.
Rebecca Marx at Fork in the Road tracked Pollock down today to see what is going on here:
"I know this is insane," Pollock says of the sudden closure. "But we had to make some drastic changes." The almost 25-year-old restaurant, he explains, "was built on a shoestring" and has long been in dire need of renovations. "A new HVAC, kitchen, exhaust system" are among the structural updates he'll be making during Acme's closure, which he estimates will be a few months.
And then there are the updates to the restaurant's staff. "We're dealing with a problem right now at the bar where employees didn't come in and didn't know what was happening," he says. "We had a bunch of drunk employees in the place." He pauses. "They've been loyal employees for years. We just need some changes."
Can he elaborate upon why he's rewarding their loyalty in this manner? "I don't know what to tell you." Another pause. "It's become a little sloppy."
Pollock is hoping the food will attract "new faces and new money," though he claims he'd like Acme to remain "a neighborhood bar" and to retain its clientele. Whether his current customers will recognize the new Acme remains to be seen: When it reopens, Pollock says, "it's not going to be the roadhouse look anymore. It will have a more contemporized look. Warm and at the same time contemporary. When you go in there, you'll have the reminiscence of Acme. It'll be on the walls."
Would any former Acme employees like to chime in? (firstname.lastname@example.org)
[Photo via Gothamist, who has more on this story here.]