Openings and Closings

Smith & Jones Started Sour, Got Better, but Closed Anyway

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."

Then

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

awful."

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

restaurant, Johnny

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

Sunday.

Inserra landed well: He'll be the sous chef of Suite 100,

a

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."

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Eric Barton
Contact: Eric Barton