by Terry Rogers
Kevin Reading announced on December 15 that he and Laura Burton would be closing the Milford Abbott’s Grill location at the end of his lease in January unless he could find a partner for his business that would allow him to turn the location into an event space. Reading hoped that he could close in the patio and create a space that would be used for weddings, conventions and other larger functions.
“I have been looking for a year and a half for someone who would be willing to invest in this type of venue,” Reading said. “If, by some stroke of luck, I can find someone interested in joining us by the time the lease is up, I’d gladly remain open here. This space fits 475 people and we just don’t have a big enough customer base any longer in Milford to warrant keeping the restaurant open.” Reading pointed out that competition in Milford, like Arena’s, Grotto’s and even fast food restaurants like Chick-Fil-A have caused his business to dwindle.
Nine years ago, Reading was a partner with Josh Grapski in Nage, a restaurant in Rehoboth. The two chefs wanted to expand and they found Milford’s atmosphere to be a good fit for the strong restaurant presence they wanted to create.
“For nine years, we did that,” Reading said. “We won the Best Restaurant in the City for nine years straight, we have received awards from Wine Spectator and been awarded Best New Restaurant. I, personally, received Restaurateur of the Year over the time we were here.” Reading explained that when Abbott’s Grill first opened, they were a destination restaurant, offering something for everyone, offering sporting events, unique cocktails and bar foods in Bald Jason’s Pub as well as high-end menu items in the restaurant.
“We were very successful, but we wanted to do more,” Reading said. “We have all the plans completed for the redesign of the location, we just need investors who want to help us bring it to fruition.”
In June 2016, Reading partnered with Mispillion River Brewing to open Brick Works in Smyrna. A second Brick Works will open in Long Neck later this year. In addition to opening Brick Works that year, Reading also opened Abbott’s on Broad Creek in Laurel.
“Both Brick Works locations will remain open as will Abbott’s on Broad Creek,” Reading said. “We will be doing a big push so that people who have loyalty cards or who may have gotten gift cards during the holiday season can use them. Gift cards from Abbott’s Grill in Milford will be accepted at Abbott’s on Broad Creek. However, the loyalty programs at each location are different so those will not transfer.”
A closing party is planned for Abbott’s Grill on January 12.
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