On July 10, Civista Bank filed a complaint again the 15 W. Main St. restaurant. Huron County Common Please Court documents listed the complaint total as $73,836.91, plus interest, fees and attorney costs, which it said has been demanded since June 26.
Berry’s representative Lynn Bolden said there’s no need to be concerned for the restaurant’s future.
“Berry’s is not closing,” she said. “That (sum) has actually been settled and soon the transfer notice will be available, as it’s a public record.”
A representative of the Civista Bank department handling the matter couldn’t be reached before deadline.
Bolden said the matter leading up to the foreclosure was a “sensitive” family matter that Berry’s wished to keep private.
Public documents released by the court indicate a listed owner, Molly McConnell, hasn’t been able to be located, despite many attempts, including efforts made by the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office and notices that have been run in the Norwalk Reflector. Bolden said the circumstances surrounding McConnell and her connection were “before my time,” but was in some way related to a worker’s compensation issue.
Bolden said the foreclosure notice “took (the family) a minute to figure out what was best” for the future of the business. The Berrys determined the best course of action was to sign on a new co-owner.
“There’s been a change at Berry’s Restaurant; it went into effect three weeks ago,” Bolden said. “It’s under leadership and (has) a new management team. The restaurant will continue to be Berry’s Restaurant, however, with a new, updated menu and feel to it.
“Doug Berry is still an owner. He’s just stepping back from having an active role in the restaurant, such as with the management. He’s been involved in the restaurant world for more than 40 years. You know, it’s time to let someone with more energy and direction and a stronger team to come in to help keep it alive.”
Some of the menu and restaurant changes include adding draft beer to The Dinky, which will begin today, and “giving the customers more control” when it comes to ordering. The menu now will feature build-your-own options for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as “fun” and “creative” new appetizers and dishes. Live entertainment also will be featured inside the restaurant, instead of as it previously was — outside only on the St. Charles Place patio.
“With the times changing with the millennials, the menu has to change,” Bolden said. “Berry’s is being revamped with new branding, a new logo and a new website — all launching after the first of the year.”
She said the changes are more than preventing the business from closing and keeping it in the family, but said she believes Berry’s “is probably stronger than ever.”
Bolden said while “everyone is affected” by the announcement of the foreclosure, the nearly 50 employees’ “morale has been great” and said business is only continuing to do better.
“(The employees and customers) are probably the most proud they’ve been of Berry’s,” she said. “I think that was lost for awhile. ... I don’t know why or where it got lost, but I’m glad it’s back.”
The family restaurant has been a staple in the Norwalk community since it was established in 1944. It opened its bar, The Dinky, in 2005 and opened its St. Charles Place patio in May 2016.