After more than 30 years of operation, the Refectory restaurant is closing its doors at the end of February, according to owner Mitch Stanley.
“It’s going to be very emotional, a tear-your heart out deal. I did everything in the world to stop this. I’m going to do everything I can to keep going.”
Stanley said the landlord, Harsch Investment Properties, will rent the 14,000 square feet restaurant/nightclub banquet space to the Dollar Store He is negotiating with Harsch to lease the space across the way in the same shopping center.
“I don’t know if we’ll wind up there, but we’ll wind up someplace,” Stanley said.
If Stanley is successful, the new place will be less than half the size of the Refectory, and will open with a different name, Stanley’s Tap Room.
Stanley said many factors contributed to the Refectory’s demise, including his decisions. Changing the music hurt the business, he said. “It helped bring in the money, but, to be honest, I wasn’t paying good enough attention to what we were doing.”
He said today the Refectory name has more of a negative than positive connotation.
In the 80s and through the 90s Stanley said the Refectory’s reputation was great, but when decisions were made to alter the music format and begin attracting large crowds, the popular nightclub’s reputation changed.
“Over time,” he said, “the Refectory got known more as a nightclub more than a place to eat.”
Stanley said the entertainment paradigm in the late 80s and 90s was, “Nobody wanted to go downtown. There were enough nightclubs and bars out here for everybody.” However, today, he said it is the opposite. “Everybody wants to go downtown. Who wants to come out here?”
Stanley said they are planning a day to invite customers to come in and leave their contact information, so they can let them know where they land.
The Refectory is at 1618 N.E. 122nd Ave. in east Portland.