After 10 years in business, Annabel Lee Tavern will close its doors for good this weekend.
Kurt Bragunier, owner of the Canton restaurant and bar, said he doesn’t want to close the tavern, but revenue loss during the last two years left him no other choice. He said he lost $200,000 in 2015 and 2016 due to competing gastro pubs nearby.
“The competition around me is such that it’s killed my revenue over the last two years,” he said.
Bragunier opened Annabel Lee Tavern in 2007 at 601 S. Clinton St., serving eclectic American cuisine and paying homage to Edgar Allan Poe’s last poem, “Annabel Lee.”
“I love Annabel Lee as much today as I did when I opened,” Bragunier said. “I’ve really given it my life. It’s my life’s work and it’s everything.”
When it opened, Annabel Lee was surrounded by dive bars, but since then more upscale concepts have emerged around the tavern.
“I knew if we did well, Canton would push that way toward Highlandtown,” he said. “It just hasn’t become a destination area yet. I think it’s going to be.”
The restaurant announced its closing on its Facebook page Thursday night.
“Despite our best efforts, it is with heavy heart to let you know that we will be closing our doors for the last time on Sunday, May 28th,” the post reads. “Thank you for your patronage over the past decade. Make sure to come in this weekend for one last hoorah!”
Bragunier said he was struck by the outpouring of support after he announced Annabel Lee’s closure. He said he can’t thank his regular customers enough.
“If I sat down before I opened and tried to come up with better clientele I couldn’t,” he said. “That’s why I did what I did. That was the reason it was a romantic place from the start.”
Bragunier owns both the business and the building that houses it, and they’re both for sale.
”I risked and lost everything on this business,” he said. “It’s a heartbreaker.”
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