Chef Cyrus Keefer and his wife, Angela Keefer, have pulled out of their partnership at In Bloom after helping the owners rebrand the South Baltimore restaurant a few months ago.
Chef Kevin Perry and his wife, Cecilia Benalcazar, teamed up with the Keefers to open the restaurant in September. In Bloom replaced Liv2Eat, the restaurant that Benalcazar and Perry owned for five years before rebranding it. The restaurant at 1444 Light St. closed in late August for cosmetic updates before reemerging as In Bloom several weeks later.
Keefer said the team suffered a number of financial setbacks, including broken equipment, during its launch. As the costs started to mount, he and Angela decided to leave, he said. They weren’t in a position where they could operate the restaurant without taking a paycheck, Keefer said, but they wanted to see In Bloom succeed.
“Our decision was just a decision to keep them afloat,” Keefer said. “At the end of the day we weren’t going to sleep well at night knowing that we were going to sink someone else’s ship.”
Keefer said there is no bad blood between the former partners, and he has offered to continue to support the restaurant with recipe and menu development.
As for what’s next for Keefer, he said he does not plan to pursue restaurant ownership, and quipped that he was “going into hiding.” Keefer has bounced around a number of kitchens in Baltimore, including posts at Alewife, For & Wrench, 13.5% Wine Bar and Birroteca.
“It really has to do with survival for me,” he said. “If we’re not making money and I’m the closest thing to the owner’s wallet, I’m the first thing that gets removed when times are tough.”
He followed the same line of thinking in his decision to part ways with In Bloom.
“I think it’s going to make them stronger,” Keefer said.
In Bloom remains in business. Benalcazar could not immediately be reached for comment.
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