By MINDY LUCAS
Two Italian restaurants in the Beaufort area have closed within days of each other, according to those who worked at the local eateries.
Briciole Bistro and Bakery, at 1281 Ribaut Road in Beaufort, abruptly closed on Friday, August 16 after only being open for a couple of months.
When reached by phone, owner John Ragsdale, said he had no comment on the sudden closing.
However, Executive Chef Allen Mathers confirmed employees were told on Friday around 5 p.m. that the restaurant was closing that night. The restaurant was closed within the hour, he said.
In addition, employees were told by Ragsdale he would make arrangements for them to receive their final paychecks the following Monday, Mathers said.
However, on Monday, Mathers and the other roughly 20 employees received a group text stating that Ragsdale had filed for bankruptcy, and employees would need to go through the courts for their final paychecks.
“I really wish I knew what was going on because we were doing great,” Mathers said.
Bella Luna Cafe, at 859 Sea Island Parkway, on St. Helena Island also closed recently.
The restaurant in a building owned by the Penn Center, next door to the Rodeway Inn St. Helena – Beaufort South, closed on Aug. 21, owner Maria Jackson confirmed.
The restaurant had been in business for 11 years, she said.
Jackson said she was evaluating her options and may consider reopening at another location.
The Penn Center is in talks with other restaurant owners interested in the space and expects to have someone take over the lease, which ended recently, in the next 30 days or so, said Marion Burns, interim executive director for the center.