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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 981 total)
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  • in reply to: Columbus City Council Elections 2015 #1099140

    Elizabeth Lessner
    Participant

    Moving forward, who did you vote for (or who will you vote for) and why?

    in reply to: Columbus City Council Elections 2015 #1095761

    Elizabeth Lessner
    Participant

    Nancy, I’m not sure that you understand how commercial composting works.

    Until SWACO closed the three licensed C2 facilities in Central Ohio, Eartha had long been hauling tons of organic food scrap (including proteins) daily from White Castle restaurants, Hyatt Hotels, Fawcett Center, the Ohio State University, several school districts, Ohio Wesleyan University’s cafeteria, CCAD’s cafeterias, Jeni’s Ice Creams kitchens, Northstar Restaurants, Franklin County Courthouse cafeteria (winning them a national award), Franklin County Jail and workhouse, Greif’s cafeteria, Nationwide Arena, ComFest, Dublin Irish Festival, Nelsonville Music Festival, Earth Day,and Franklin Park conservatory to name just a few of our clients.

    We had a pretty firm grasp on how to handle multiple tons of food scrap on a daily basis.

    I’m a gardener too. My home garden composting is an entirely different animal than a full-service organic scrap hauling company working under state, local, and EPA regulations removing hundreds of tons of solid organic food scraps and proteins from the landfill from commercial kitchens that operate under local health departments and FDA regulations. It’s a tremendous undertaking and we were actually doing a terrific job with it until SWACO closed our licensed facilities, presumably because they were losing revenue from the tip fees from the heavy organic scraps that we were removing.

    So it’s not really comparable to home gardening at all. And, actually, it was a great idea and a great business.

    in reply to: Surly Girl Closing This Month #1076120

    Elizabeth Lessner
    Participant

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>Elizabeth Lessner wrote:</div>
    (My original post removed for length)

    Trying to keep the thread about Surly Girl primarily, and I did want to follow up, if you’re of a mind:

    You closed Betty’s but plan to reopen it; you closed Surly and do not plan to reopen it, but you also didn’t sell it a la Jury Room. If Surly was still doing well, wouldn’t the better option have been to sell it as well? Especially if it owned its own building? I get that you outgrew it, but there might well have been a younger you out there ready to take over and run with it. (Or a corporate group of old men who thought they could fake it convincingly enough.)

    (my original post removed for length)

    I agree about the Schadenfreude and I called it out in my first post in this thread. But on the public vs. private divide: In fairness, you occupy that gray zone between public and private. At the very least, anything that touches on the health of your restaurants (and I’m not singling you out here, I’d say the same about any local restaurant operation, whether it’s CFL or Wendy’s) is a matter of public concern, and unfortunately, when it comes to closely held businesses, it’s somewhat inevitable that the personal financial health of the owner(s) will become relevant in some way, sometime, somehow.

    Regarding Surly Girl: Sure, we could have sold it but we opted not to. She might open again in some incarnation or another but we aren’t ready to dump the concept entirely. The Surly Girls grew up there, it’s more of a baby to us than business.

    There’s a now closed 24/7 Seattle diner I used to frequent when I lived there called Minnie’s. I’ve long envisioned Betty’s to take on a similar business model but timing and location is important.

    Regarding other businesses: Any personal business doesn’t bleed into my other businesses (LLCs). The closures of the other locations has allowed me the time and space to focus more on our other locations. The other concepts are happily humming along and we are hard at work on upgrades to all of our locations including a new patio coming soon to Dirty Frank’s Downtown, some interior renovations to the dining room of Dirty Frank’s West (and plans for facade improvement), and patio improvements at Grass Skirt just to name a few.

    in reply to: Surly Girl Closing This Month #1075731

    Elizabeth Lessner
    Participant

    Thanks, ehill! As a resident, you know that even though Betty’s & Surly Girl were blocks away from one another, they were on very different spectrums in terms of development 10 years ago.

    Betty’s model could not keep up with the gentrification on that end of the neighborhood. We purchased the Surly Girl building for that exact reason.

    While Betty’s closed due to rising costs in that particular area, that’s not why Surly Girl closed, nor did I ever say that. We didn’t set out to gentrify anything, our slogan was eat/drink/rock/raise hell after all. We did set out, however, to provide much needed vibrancy, eyes on street, jobs, and light to that area. The area has filled in and we are happy about that. Our goals have been met there, and we are proud we played a small role in being there during an important and transitional time in the evolution of the neighborhood.

    in reply to: Surly Girl Closing This Month #1075705

    Elizabeth Lessner
    Participant

    Liz: Awhile ago you tweeted that Surly Girl was growing up and something about presenting to the convention authorities. Any updates or insight on that?

    I did consulting work on RFP’s for 3 different major foodservice companies bidding on the venue. As the co-owner of the Surly Girl, I often refer to myself as The Surly Girl or a Surly Girl. Sorry to rain on whatever fictional narrative you’ve dreamt up from my 140 characters.

    in reply to: Surly Girl Closing This Month #1075704

    Elizabeth Lessner
    Participant

    Mike: Nope. We were proud to go out the same week Alive readers named us Best Short North Bar and we feel terrific about what we accomplished there.

    It’s naive to believe every restaurant must live forever, or open new locations, or open in new markets, etc. When we opened Surly, we saw a cool opportunity to build a bar during an exciting time in the Short North. We gave our blood, sweat, cash, and tears to the business and loved it every single day. At a certain point you realize your concept isn’t relevant anymore in its present context and isn’t accomplishing the original goals you had for it. At that point you make decisions about the business and the best decision to us was to move on and focus on other areas of interest and need.

    The reason I included the Lazarus quote is because we tend to focus on projects where we believe we can make the most meaningful impact and positive impression in our community. It’s why we open in places like the Hilltop or tough corners of downtown. We are committed to Columbus in a different way than other operators, and it’s not necessarily the bottom line that drives us.

    in reply to: Surly Girl Closing This Month #1075659

    Elizabeth Lessner
    Participant

    Molly: I don’t know who you are or when we worked together but thanks for your comments. I am listening and I appreciate your candor. I am also a work in progress. xo

    in reply to: Surly Girl Closing This Month #1075658

    Elizabeth Lessner
    Participant

    Hi Truthbetold, since you took the time to create an account on CU just to post CFL rumors to this thread, and since you’re posting anonymously as a self-identified former CFL employee, I’m kind of in a weird position in responding to you from a former employer standpoint.

    Chances are, if you did work for us, then we know each other but since you’re posting anonymously (and that’s your right) AND claiming to have insider knowledge, I am having trouble addressing you specifically.

    However, if you have worked for me, you also know my personal email address and personal cell phone are available to every employee so hopefully you can write me (anonymously if you like) with whatever specific vague rumory concerns you have and I can help sort them out for you. As an employer, past or present, I may not be in a position to speak openly/publicly about whatever you are mysteriously alluding to but I’m happy to clear it up if I can and if it puts your mind at ease. Thanks for your understanding.

    PS: whatever the big mystery is, it sounds scary, so I would like to know. :)

    in reply to: Surly Girl Closing This Month #1075647

    Elizabeth Lessner
    Participant

    My brand of political advocacy isn’t for everyone, I understand the schadenfreude. I have found my advocacy to be effective for my own purposes. I have since learned there’s more than one way to get to Abilene, but it took 15 years of publicly learned lessons to get there. And at the end of the day, I feel proud of the small, but important (to me), goals that I’ve been able to accomplish via my own advocacy here in Central Ohio.

    That aside, CFL is made up of some great people who aren’t deserving of any vitriol. We have a big staff of really talented and good people doing really good things. So throw rocks at me all you like but please keep my partners/associates out of this.

    I am not following the conspirators and whatever they’re suggesting but they’re welcomed to talk to me about it. Most folks know me as being accessible and responsive.

    All that aside, I wanted to clarify so we don’t spend 10 more pages speculating:

    1) CFL restaurants each have their own ownership structure and LLC. What happens at Surly Girl has no bearing on Tip Top. Ever. Period.
    2) Betty’s closed in 2014 because that business model was no longer profitable in the quickly gentrified Short North.
    3) Betty’s was unable to reopen on Gay Street because we weren’t able to meet the timelines set by the landlord. The landlord was eager to get a tenant up and going and found someone able to open sooner than I was able to commit to. Locations fall through for lots of very boring and innocuous reasons all the time, they don’t fall through to slight customers/haters, never seen that happen in my lifetime actually. I have since scouted other locations for Betty’s, even came close to leasing one on campus, but I haven’t found what I’m looking for as I’d like to reopen that concept to 24/7.
    4) Jury Room never met the goals I had for it. I decided to sell the business when the lease was up and a buyer came forward when he heard from a friend of a friend that I might be leaving. The timing was determined so that my staff could immediately start new jobs at Chintz Room without missing a single day of work. We closed Jury Room on Sunday, staff started jobs the very next day at Chintz Room. All of the Jury Room staff with the exception of one person started at Chintz Room the very next week.
    5) Carmen is focusing on Grass Skirt. She loves the tiki bar concept/theme and feels she’s never been able to devote the time/energy to it due to Surly Girl eating up so much of her time. The three Surly partners felt that we accomplished what we wanted to at Surly Girl and it was time to move on from there. No mystery there, the Surly Girls grew up and wanted other things a decade later.
    6) Jim Sweeney called me last month and said he is receiving a lot of pressure from the powers that be and he would like to go ahead with another operator for Franklinton. While I was disappointed because I’ve worked on that space for nearly a decade now, I know the neighborhood comes first and my main objective all along was to promote the neighborhood. If you know me, you know that’s what I care about.
    7) I am spending time on a couple of food production and food service projects related to social justice outside Ohio. Most folks know what I’m up to. My projects won’t do much to fuel any juicy gossip so I’ll leave them out of this list.

    There’s really no reason to comment on any financial items, they don’t carry any relevance to my restaurant group or the Columbus public. It’s my own personal and private business. I am not ashamed to talk about having tough financial times, especially if there are lessons to share with my peers, but if the goal is to dissect it for reasons of pure schadenfreude, there’s no reason I should engage. If you’ve ever taken a big risk in life, you’ll know it comes with it’s own set of lessons and challenges.

    I love the Lazarus family and one of their old slogans from their 1960’s ads, shared with me by historian Doug Motz is: “What’s good for Columbus is good for business.” This sentiment fuels many of my own business decisions and if you know me, you know that too.

    in reply to: Betty's bread #1073192

    Elizabeth Lessner
    Participant

    We made it daily in-house. I can send the recipe if you wish to PM me your email address.

    in reply to: R.I.P. CU Forum? #1073028

    Elizabeth Lessner
    Participant

    Mercurious: I fully disclosed my 75% ownership of commercial real estate in the area, my two known businesses, and my family’s property several times in the thread.

    There was absolutely no reason to post my personal information.

    You asked why people don’t post, I answered your question. I’m done here.

    in reply to: R.I.P. CU Forum? #1073023

    Elizabeth Lessner
    Participant

    Mercurious: I fully disclosed my relationship to the property and my other business interests in the area in my very first post and several times in the post and just about every single subsequent post.

    You went on to post photographs and private documents related to my family and business partners, obviously in an effort to threaten and silence me. There was absolutely no reason to name addresses, post images, and post documents when full disclosure was already made to you. Several times.

    As a woman who works late nights, I value my privacy. My family and business partners and investors also deserve privacy. You exploited that.

    in reply to: R.I.P. CU Forum? #1072948

    Elizabeth Lessner
    Participant

    rus, FWIW, Walker removed the images of my personal info only.

    in reply to: R.I.P. CU Forum? #1072941

    Elizabeth Lessner
    Participant

    It’s interesting Mercurious started this thread. I’ve been posting to CU since at least 2006 and I know exactly when I stopped posting on this forum.

    In a thread about a controversial construction project, Mercurious posted images and documents of my house, my home address, mortgage docs, business loan docs, business legal documents, real estate holdings, and other sensitive and personal information about my home, my family, my business partners, and my investors. None of these images were relevant to the discussion. While Mercurious posted publicly available information (if you know where to look and have that much time to stalk strangers), I felt like it was a huge invasion of my privacy and the experience made me feel very uncomfortable and unsafe.

    I appreciated Walker removing the public information for me as I don’t need anyone posting my home address, photos of my home, and mine and my business partners’ personal information on a public forum at any time. Since then, I’ve avoided any controversial topic on CU.

    While I’ve endured many personal, unprovoked, and often dishonest attacks by strangers since that time, I have a thick skin. People that know me, know better. However, it was this one particular incident, an invasion of my personal privacy and sense of safety, that drove me away.

    in reply to: The Chintz Room – New Elizabeth Lessner / CFL Restaurant #1063193

    Elizabeth Lessner
    Participant

    Thanks to everyone for your valuable feedback and thanks to so many of you for checking us out since we opened. I’ve enjoyed seeing a lot of old friends in recent weeks.

    I deeply regret when anyone has a poor experience, but I appreciate the feedback so I can fix what’s broken. Please know I’m committed to addressing the issues you’ve all mentioned.

    I hope that if I can make up a bad experience to any of you, you’ll let me know. We aim to please and regret greatly when we miss the mark.

    Thanks again for your comments and feedback. My sincerest apologies for any service issues or other problems anyone has experienced, please know I’m committed to making it right.

    I’m working at Chintz Room all weekend, I hope you’ll stop by and say hello!

    Liz Lessner
    [email protected]

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