Long-time restaurant closes and awaits changes
A long-time restaurant in town may feature a new “concept” after closing for the summer for renovations.
Forest Hills Inn has chained off its parking lot, and its marquee says, “Closed.”
Jeff Lobdell, owner of Restaurant Partners, the restaurant's parent company, could not be reached Tuesday morning.
The restaurant has posted a message at its website: “Closed for renovations. We apologize for the inconvenience. Forest Hills Inn will be closed for the summer season, beginning Friday, May 27, 2016.”
Forest Hills Inn began serving customers in the 1970s.
The restaurant also posted a message on May 25 at its Facebook page:
“Dear Forest Hills Inn Guests,
Friday May 27th will be our last day of operation. With the slower summer season and the disruptive current road construction situation, we have opted to close for the summer and hope to take advantage of this downtime to reformulate a plan to optimize this fantastic location.
We would like to thank this wonderful community and all of our loyalty (sic) guests for their patronage over the many years that this restaurant has been in existence. We appreciate your patience and promise to have an announcement of what will be happening at 4609 Cascade Road in the near future.
The Forest Inn”
Many customers shared their concerns about the closing in comments on the Facebook post.
In reply to a comment, Forest Hills Inn says, “We feel that an update and perhaps a new concept is necessary and will most certainly happen in due time. This area deserves something new and exciting, and we are optimistic that this will be occurring very soon.”
In reply to another comment, the restaurant says a “beverage-centric concept” could be on its way.
The restaurant says Forest Hills Inn employees have been offered positions at Restaurant Partners’ other restaurants.
Restaurant Partners also owns The Red Geranium, Prime Time Pub, Beltline Bar, Flap Jack Shack, Bagel Beanery, Sundance Grill and Bar, El Barrio, Grand Coney and the Omlette Shoppe.
Jeff Lobdell, owner of Restaurant Partners, said Tuesday afternoon that he has accepted an offer for Forest Hills Inn from a group, wishing to remain confidential for the time being, to attempt a new concept at the location.
The acquisition is in the due diligence process, and Lobdell didn't rule out Restaurant Partners refreshing the restaurant if the deal falls through.
"They would like to revive it and turn it into a more modernized eatery," Lobdell said. "The place needs a remodel, facelift. It's in the best interest for the buyers and community, and I think it will prove to be a great move for the community."
Restaurant Partners acquired Forest Hills Inn in 2008.
Lobdell said with an expanding portfolio of restaurants, refreshing Forest Hills Inn fell on the backburner. Restaurant Partners recently opened a Grand Coney restaurant on the corner of 28th Street and Madison Avenue and another is under construction on 28th Street near the I-96 exit.
"We have a lot of irons in the fire," Lobdell said. "We're on the move — and growing and developing a new concept at an existing location just wasn't in the cards.
"It was a win-win to accept the offer."