98 South closes (again) in downtown Chandler

98 South

In what’s becoming something of an annual event, 98 South Wine Bar & Kitchen has closed in downtown Chandler, but the landlord hopes to reopen it soon under new management.

The original 98 South closed in October 2008 when restaurateur Ron Wojcicki, who also owned 56 East and KiZake Sushi, filed for bankruptcy.

The restaurant and wine bar reopened on St. Patrick’s Day of this year under new owners, who opted to keep the name, although a full menu wasn’t introduced until mid-April.

Saturday, however, building owner Tom Bliss, of Chandler City Center Developers, locked the doors for non-payment of rent. Employees were allowed to return Monday to retrieve personal belongings.

“I’d like to say it’s temporarily closed,” Bliss says. “There’s a good chance it’ll reopen soon under different management.”

Bliss defines “soon” as “maybe a couple of weeks,” and adds there’s a good chance the new owners will keep the 98 South name.

“The restaurant was successful. It made money,” he says. “It’s my understanding the development group has other businesses that aren’t doing as well, and that’s why they have financial problems.”

Bliss is trying to reach all 98 South customers who had made reservations for over the holidays.

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3 Responses to 98 South closes (again) in downtown Chandler

  1. Big ben says:

    The placed is cursed

  2. bjames says:

    It’s a good location; they just need a decent place there. The first incarnation of 98 South lasted quite a while, but I felt the quality had gone downhill significantly from when it first opened. This second incarnation just never felt quite right….the food seemed ok, but the service and overall vibe didn’t seem to gel.

    I really think it would be a mistake to keep the name at this point.

  3. Adam says:

    The location is very good. With no direct competition a wine bar supported by a restaurant can easily make it in the Old Town District. The second try at 98 South failed due to an owner who had no business being in the restaurant business. It would be wise for whomever takes over to either have a background in accounting/bookeeping and a good ear for listening or Restaurant General Manager level experience with a proven track record for growth in a slowed economy. Otherwise, this will be commonplace “98 South Closes”.

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