Smith & Jones, the second restaurant on Las Olas opened by venerable Chef Johnny Vinczencz, closed its doors for good after dinner Saturday night.
The comfort-food restaurant started a bit rough for Vinczencz, earning a fairly scathing review here at New Times. Our article from January 2009 said the place "doesn't live up to Johnny V's name," a sign of the "glitter that has fallen from Vinczencz's chef's toque."
Chef Sous Chef Ted Inserra said the steep Las Olas overhead killed the place.
Over the past couple of months, they tried to shave costs, letting
go any employees they could spare. "We just went through all
the steps of a restaurant that's failing, trying to cut costs, and
letting people go. Things were looking bad for a while."
summer came, and instead of a couple of hundred tables a night, they
were doing 20 or 30. "Business just stopped," Inserra says. "It was
Inserra says Vinczencz, who's currently on vacation in
Spain, said recently that things were looking bad, so Inserra jumped
ship July 6. Inserra said Vinczencz also told him that his flagship
V's, is currently for sale.
On Saturday, Inserra says Smith
& Jones' owner, Bob Woltin, locked the doors at the end of the
night. He didn't tell most of the employees that the place was closing,
and many didn't know until stopping by the shuttered restaurant on
Inserra landed well: He'll be the sous chef of Suite 100,
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new high-end restaurant coming in at the Las Olas Riverfront. "It's an
exciting time," he said. "I'm over there every day picking out the China
and overseeing every little detail. I'm lucky."