Mealey's Restaurant has closed

Thanks to Matthew for alerting us of the breaking news that Mealey’s Restaurant in New Market has closed.  From the FNP:

Mealey’s Restaurant, a landmark restaurant that has been in the area since the early 1900s, closed Sunday.

Fifteen employees are out of work.

Owner Chim Butt said he made the “very painful decision” to close the business Sunday night, primarily because of the economy.

“No. 2 are the greedy banks who are not bending, who refuse to help a customer stay afloat in this economy,” Butt said.

He also blames Frederick County government.

“Certainly, I take some responsibility, but I must say that doing business with Frederick County is counter-productive and I would absolutely discourage people about doing business in Frederick County,” Butt said.

Butt said he and his wife invested all their life savings in the restaurant.

There will be more about this story in tomorrow’s News-Post.

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0 thoughts on “Mealey's Restaurant has closed

  1. Wow, I am surprised. I thought of Mealy’s as an institution. I now understand the platters that arrived at the event Saturday night – they looked like something prepared at Sam’s Club, not a restaurant.

    I also find his comments about the difficulty of owning a business in Frederick County to be refreshingly honest.

    Mealy’s will be missed.

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    • Hey Dallas –

      Perhaps I generalized. My experiences with the local governments (city, county and state) have been in dealing with a food service type business. And some of their laws/regulations conflict with the other’s, especially if your business doesnt fit into one of the “categories” they recognize. Each entity has separate and unique guidelines – yet one doesnt communicate with the other, and few are willing to help the public get through the onerous processes of zoning, permitting and licensing.

      The folks at Economic Development are wonderful, I just wish a few other bureaucrats would follow their lead.

      *sorry for getting on the soap box*

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  2. Sad news. But Chim Butt needs to point the first finger at himself. We have seen here and elsewhere many, many complaints about his restaurant’s dismal performance. To be sure, he faced daunting odds. Even when the economy was good, former Mealey’s owner Jose Salvieri complained that the chains and franchises were hammering away at him. That’s the same song sung by thousands of independent restaurants across the nation: Many can’t go toe to toe with the big boys with the deep pockets, huge advertising budgets, and corporate HQ support. When the current recession first hit, and then deepened, Mealey’s fate was sealed.

    To succeed in this economy, Mealey’s will have to be totally reinvented, not just tweaked. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this Frederick County landmark retooled as a business suite or split into a couple of private residences. Such is the reality of the new Frederick County.

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    • We, the American people, can change this. We can stop going to the chains. I always try to go to a locally owned and run restaurant whenever we go out. I admit that it is not always possible and sometimes we just have to hit a chain, but at least I try….

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  3. Blaming the “greedy” banks and the county government? Sounds like serious sour grapes. Times are tough everywhere, lots of people are struggling, deal with it.

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  4. Mr. Butt may have opened the tavern for a reason as simple as “hope springs eternal.” The tavern probably was planned, designed and financed before the economy collapsed. Taverns are generally good for business because alcohol sales are so profitable–far more than food. Yet even before Mr. Butt, the Inn’s former owner had spent years trying to establish Mealey’s as a must-do wine tasting venue.

    We saw the same thing with the late Turning Point Inn, in Urbana. Before this grand dame folded in 2002-2003, the owner was making huge renovations, including building an amazing tavern and wine cellar in the basement. Eventually he sold the Inn and today it’s a business suite.

    If anybody remembers, the food at the Turning Point Inn was exceptional. Classically trained Dave Welsh was brilliant in the kitchen. Within two years, he was helming the kitchen at Griff’s. Don’t know where he is today.

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  5. I seem to remember Mealey’s sold a year or two ago, so it sounds like the new owner got in over his head?

    I visited a few times before the sale, but haven’t been out there recently. For those who have been going for a while, was there a change in the quality of the food/service/atmosphere? Or just another small business knocked down by the recession?

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  6. Mealey’s used to be one of our favorite go-to places. But over time, the food just didn’t keep pace with the prices they charged. We found the food to be kind of boring, and geared more to a more senior population. Not exactly the big drinkers that push up the tab.

    I’m sorry it’s leaving also. I loved the location and certainly New Market could use another dining venue.

    Liz – I used to take my kids there when they were babies, too! We really enjoyed having the babysitting room upstairs for the little ones. It was so convenient for a last-minute “let’s go out” occasion

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  7. Who knows…perhaps in a future, improved economy–and in the hands of a clever, experienced owner with a successful track record–Mealeys can be reborn. To have a chance of success, I think it would need to be able to draw not only on the visiting antiquing crowd, but also on diners sufficiently motivated to make it a destination in its own right. It would need some sort of “buzz” to bring it attention–something that Mealeys has lacked for a long time (along with noteworthy food). As one person said, Mealeys seems to have been thought of as mainly geared to a more senior population.

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  8. Here are/were their entrees from the “traditional” menu:

    Halibut “Pan Seared”……………………………………………………………..$27.99
    Served over a Roasted Corn Risotto and Finished with a White
    Wine Butter Sauce

    New York Strip “Chargrilled to Perfection”………………………….$35.95
    Topped with Gorgonzola Cheese and a Balsamic Glaze

    Dry Aged Flat Iron…………………………………………………………………..$22.95
    Marinated in Latin Spices and Served on a Corn Tortilla and Julienne
    Vegetables Surrounded in a Fresh Tomatillo Salsa

    Ribeye and White Clams……………………………………………………….$38.99
    Served in a Light Tomato and Leek BBQ Broth

    Salmon “Pan Seared”…………………………………………………………..$25.99
    Topped with a Sweet and Light Sun Dried Tomato and White
    Wine Cream Sauce

    6oz Filet Mignon……………………………………………………………………$35.99
    Served over Vegetable Spanish Rice and Topped with a
    White Cheddar Chorizo Sauce

    Spicy Shrimp Pasta…………………………………………………………….$23.99
    Simmered in a White Wine, Tomato and Garlic Fondue and
    Tossed with Linguini

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  9. Mealey’s Chop House Selections

    Prime Rib of Beef…Traditional slow oven roasted
    King Cut, 16oz………………………………………………………………..35.99
    Queen Cut, 12oz……………………………………………………………..29.99

    Filet Mignon, 9oz…………………………………………………………….35.99
    U.S.D.A. Choice Center Cut

    Bistro Style Steak, “Petite Tender”, 10 oz…………………….22.99
    Seasoned with mesquite dry rub. Suggested medium-rare

    Porterhouse Pork Chop, 14oz……………………………………….19.99

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  10. He didnt close it, the bank took it, unfortunetly he didnt know how to run a restaurant and said so himself when he began this endeavor. It will be missed.

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  11. I worked as bartender when Jose Salaverri owned it. Wonderful man and knew how to run a restaurant. We had many nice family dinners there.

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  12. This has nothing to do with being a new restaurant owner or a seasoned veteran. It has everything to do with being a a good, honest person or a bad, deceitful person.

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  13. Wow if only everyone knew how bad it really was! Some of you are correct you do need experience to run a good restaurant, however, you also need a good chef! Mealey’s was being run into the ground by a very inexperienced, extremly young and untalented cook, and a very decietful uncaring owner, and no the bank did not take Mealey’s. The owner closed the door on the advice of his attorneys, it had been on the market for a while and he wouldn’t entertain decent offers. Neither one of these men knew how to price or knew anything about customer service. The owner would routinley be mean to dinning guests and would steal tip money from hosts and servers. He and chef would order lesser quality food and charge higher prices for the entrees. It was very sad to watch Mealey’s fall to this level.

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  14. Pingback: Hagan’s Tavern for sale « Frederick Maryland Online

  15. The last time I was at Mealeys was Mother’s Day 2008. Even with reservations, we had to wait 2 hours for a table. Mr. Butt was nasty and rude. This was quite shock from what I was used to when I visited Mealeys. Jose and his wife always greeted me with a handshake and a warm smile. They made every customer feel like they were the most important people in the world, and he was happy to have them there. I dined a Mealeys at least once a week for 4 years. Mealeys catered my house warming party when I moved to New Market, and the staff there were so wonderful and accommodating, I felt immediately at home here. Until that fateful Mother’s Day brunch.

    The only thing that saved Mother’s Day from being a complete disaster was the long time employees (thank you!!!) who knew who I was, and while they were clearly on the verge of quitting, they were as welcoming as Jose used to be.

    Mr. Butt has no one to blame but himself for Mealeys closing. He had no business being in the restaurant business, and based on the way I was treated by him, I have no doubt his incompetence drove Mealeys right into the ground.

    Goodbye Mealeys!! 😦 Sunday brunch will never be the same.

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  17. This is happening more and more around the area. People lose their lives work and the community loses a nice place to go out. Some mini-bailout should be used – employees take a pay cut, banks work out repayment terms, restaurant cuts prices and people save up for a night out. Oh well.

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  18. This is sad. My wife and I have been going there for many years for our anniversary. I remember their generosity in giving us a free desert since it was a special occasion. Once when my son was little they brought him a pillow and placed it on the table because he was sleepy. My wife and I enjoyed our anniversary dinner while our little boy slept in the chair with his head on the pillow. I can’t think of another place that would do that. Unless things really changed I recall nothing but great service and excellent food. My wife always got the crab imperial. My anniversary is June 3rd. I’ll miss not going to Mealeys.

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  19. Pingback: Sunday Brunch at Mealey’s Restaurant « Frederick Maryland Online

  20. I have been looking for Mealey’s to open again when I ran accross this artical. I have been attending the restaurant for since around 1985 or so. It has been very nice and in those days had a great minstrel troubadour named John Durant who introduced the restaurant to me. His music made the atmosphere wonderful for all including the kids with special magical favors.
    Later, when the restaurant sold to Mr. Chim Buttt, we happened there and met Chim. he seemed very nice and accomodating to his patrons even admitting that he wanted to be in the restaurant business but was short of experience. But we did enjoy the restaurant and it’s buffet and menu items. We met and knew most of the very pleasent staff.
    I don’t know why it closed except that Chim said he had spend too much money on requirements of the county requirements.
    I am hoping that the restaurant will reopen because it is very popular. This popularity will certainly depend on a new owner being able to either create a welcome presentation or at lease duplicating the wonderful atmosphere created by the original owners Jose and Pat Salvieri. Good luck in reviving this wonderful local resource.

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  21. Please, please, please…don’t quit. Open somewhere more congenial and let your needs be known in the Leesburg, VA area. Loudoun County is growing faster than any county in the country. Surely, there can be financing found here.
    Your restaurant was a shining light! My husband and I dined there just one time a few years ago and have been longing to return. My heart really sank today when I saw that Mealey’s closed. I will now be praying for your revival! You and your staff created a very happy memory for us; I’d so looked forward to having many more . Rise again !!!

    Like

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