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Closures hit locally owned restaurants, clubs

It’s been a rough few weeks for local restaurants, bars and nightclubs. You’ve read about some of these closures here at the Beehive, but here’s the final tally:

They all closed for their own reasons, and you can read more about them in this weekend’s story that takes a look at the problem. The one thing they all have in common is that they’re still struggling with the lackluster economy.

Read more

Iron Bird Cafe closes … again

The last coconut mocha has been served at the Iron Bird Cafe. The downtown business on Fulton Street in the Iron Bird Lofts is officially closed.

Owner Ann Liao said Wednesday that the business wasn’t making enough money to cover the cost of being open 16 hours a day, seven days a week. The cost of coffee beans and other expenses kept rising as Iron Bird struggled to serve early birds and a growing late night crowd. Rather than skimp on quality to cut costs, she decided to close.

It’s the second time a business named Iron Bird Cafe has closed in the location. The original coffee shop, which opened about the same time as the lofts, didn’t make it. Liao, who owns three Teazer World Market locations in Fresno, reopened Iron Bird Cafe about 10 months ago with a partner who specializes in coffee. They revamped the menu and brought in several new global types of coffee.

The regret in Liao’s voice was palpable when we spoke via phone.
“It’s tearing me apart,” she said. “We gave it our best try and I think customers loved it. People who do support it, support it 100%. We never really heard anything bad about about the service or the coffee.”

Iron Bird closed Dec. 31 for the New Year’s holiday and will not reopen.

Perhaps anticipating the round of doubts about downtown this might inspire, she said this in a goodbye message on the Iron Bird’s Facebook page:

The huge amount of construction going on in downtown and the many people moving towards this area hold great promise. We believe that soon someone with a fresh set of eyes will be able to make that location their own and make it happen in a way that works for the area.