A little over a year after opening near the heart of downtown Arbutus, Larry's 1332 closed after it served Friday night dinner July 20.
Larry Schwartz, who opened the restaurant at 1332 Sulphur Spring Road on May 31 last year and primarily served soups, sandwiches and cakes, cited the economy as a reason for closing.
"I love the community. Everyone I've met here is fantastic and very supportive," the Pikesville resident said. "But it's just not enough."
Schwartz estimated about 45 customers ate the final Friday night meals served at his restaurant.
The catering and delivery business that Schwartz thought would buoy the business never materialized, he said.
"We took off with a shot," Schwartz said a few hours before his restaurant would close. "Then it started to slow down."
"But every time there was a new customer, every time there was a new smile inside the restaurant, I said, 'We can hold on,'" he said
Schwartz, 60, said he realized two months ago that it wouldn't work.
"I wasn't here to flip the restaurant. I was here to start a renaissance," Schwartz said of his vision to turn downtown Arbutus into a dining destination.
Schwartz said he has not found a potential buyer for the restaurant yet.
After working in the food industry for 36 years, Schwartz purchased the restaurant from Connie Neiman, the owner of The Lunchbox Cafe, because he wanted to be his own boss.
Neiman had sold her restaurant to accommodate a four-fold increase in sales of her specialty boxed lunches from the year before that she produces in a kitchen on Francis Avenue.
"It was time and I wanted to do something for myself," Schwartz told the Arbutus Times in the first weeks his restaurant was open. "I don't want my creativity to be stifled. I want to live and die on the decisions I make."
Schwartz plans to keep providing catering services in and around the Baltimore area.
But, he said, he will likely return to working for someone again.
"This was my shot," Schwartz said. "I'm not going to reopen my own business."
Since word got out that he would close his restaurant, business picked up.
"In the last couple of days since people knew I was closing, we've been packed," Schwartz said. "Well-wishers and patrons were coming by to say how much they'll miss us. It's very bittersweet."