The Ritz to close after 30 years in business

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The Ritz Grill will close on Saturday, August 19.
  • The Ritz Grill will close on Saturday, August 19.
After 30 years as a downtown nightlife standard, The Ritz will close its doors for good after service on Saturday, August 19.

“We have been struggling business-wise for the past couple of years, mostly due to the change in the nightclub industry," says Luke Travins, co-owner of The Ritz's parent company Concept Restaurants, which also owns Jose Muldoon's, MacKenzie's Chophouse and Flatiron's American Bar & Grill.

Travins says that The Ritz's success was built on its role as a nightlife destination, drawing its biggest crowds at 9 p.m. and later. Though the business has offered lunch and dinner menus, Travins says “We always were carried by our late night sales."

When asked for details, Travins explains that nightlife spending is down in general, a trend corroborated by both Forbes and CNN. More generally, he cites competition from a downtown shopping district that's expanding both north and south, as well as the rising popularity of craft beer and cocktail options.

“There’s more seats in the market,” he says.

Travins and Concept partner Dave Lux still own the five-story Carlton Building through a separate business venture. Travins says the office spaces on the upper stories are thoroughly leased out, so it's unlikely the building will change hands any time soon. He says they plan on using the ground floor, the current Ritz space, for a restaurant going forward, but declined to provide any further details.

In the mean time, The Ritz's last day in business is Saturday, August 19. While those loyal to the space have planned unofficial farewell events, Travins says there are no official plans to commemorate the restaurant's closing beyond a typical service day.

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