Montmartre and Seventh Hill Pizza Close – Victims of Pandemic Economics
May 18, 2020
by Larry Janezich
Montmartre Chef Stephane Lezla, who is Chris Raynal’s business partner in Capitol Hill’s institutions Montmartre and 7th Hill Pizza, confirmed today that the two restaurants are closing permanently. Lezla said, “Continuing doesn’t make sense – we were hit by a perfect storm and lost our best three months – March, April, and May – when we have most of our income. The business lost during the Cherry Blossom Festival is not coming back.” He said everybody had been helpful – the community, the restaurant’s providers, the staff, and the landlord. According to Lezla, “There is no one to blame, it was a decision Chris and I made.” Asked if it were possible they would reopen elsewhere, Lezla said, “Who knows?”
Other sources told CHC that the restaurant had been unable to negotiate a reduction in rent with building owner Stanton Development for the period the restaurants had been and expected to be affected by the pandemic. Likewise, some restaurants on Barracks Row have reported being unable to negotiate lower rents during the shutdown.
CHC reached out to ANC6B Commissioner and candidate for At Large City Council seat, Chander Jayaraman for comment. Jayaraman chairs ANC6B’s Barracks Row Working Group which will meet next Wednesday to discuss legislation proposed by Councilmembers Charles Allen and Mary Cheh that would permit temporary closing of certain streets to allow restaurants to expand their outside serving area to ease operations once the city starts to reopen. That legislation was scheduled to be taken up by the Council on Tuesday, but has been pulled from the agenda at the request of the Mayor.
Jayaraman said, “While COVID-19 continues to threaten the survival of small businesses, I hope property owners are compassionate and understanding of the challenges small businesses face, and will be supportive while these businesses are really hurting.”