July 31, 2014

Elyria
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Closed Elyria eatery up for sheriff’s sale

ELYRIA — The restaurant already has closed, and now the building that housed Moss’ Prime Rib & Spaghetti House will go up for auction.

The exterior of Moss’ is shown.

The exterior of Moss’ is shown.

This will not be an auction of owner Sandi Laubenthal’s choosing as was the case last November, when the restaurant and building didn’t sell. Rather, the Broad Street property will join dozens of others in Lorain County when it goes up for sheriff’s sale July 31.

The sale comes after First Place Bank sued Laubenthal, saying she defaulted on a loan and owes $124,297, plus interest. The foreclosure order was granted in early May.

Laubenthal closed Moss’ in mid-April, calling it the hardest decision she has ever had. She blamed it on the economy, both locally and nationally, which kept people from crossing her door. Even a $10,000 makeover by the Food Network’s popular show “Restaurant Impossible” and the subsequent publicity did not rejuvenate the business as Laubenthal had hoped.

Moss’ opened in 1958 at Broad and Cedar streets, and Laubenthal relocated it down the street to 525 Broad St., a stone’s throw from Elyria City Hall, when she bought it in 2001.

Elyria Mayor Holly Brinda said the loss of Moss’ has left a serious void downtown. The remaining sit-down eateries near Elyria’s downtown are Burger King, McDonald’s, Golden Ginger, Taco Bell, Downtown Dogs and Donna’s Diner, which seems to be holding its own after it was prominently featured by New York Times writer Dan Barry and his five-part series “This Land.’’

“Having quality restaurants available to people is a very important part of a mixed-use strategy,” Brinda said. “We need restaurants both in the daytime when hundreds of people are working in Elyria, which is our county seat, and in the evening when we want the downtown area to be a draw for residents. Over the years, people have made several attempts at revitalizing the downtown as a place to live, but failed to add the other elements that are an important draw.”

Brinda said she would not be surprised if the property, appraised at $210,000, does not sell at auction.

“I know it won’t sit empty long, regardless,” she said. “The city has been in contact with people interested in Moss’ and Pasquale’s, and the city has been serving as a liaison between prospective business owners and financial institutions. We have also offered the city’s revolving loan fund as an incentive if that tool is needed.”

Pasquale’s Pasta House, at Broad Street and East Avenue, closed in April after opening in December 2011.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.

  • Greg White

    I remember in my youth 28 years ago there used to be warehouse. Mardi Gras and Pappas and Moms open kitchen. Those were the days. Downtown Elyria is essentially dead. Until the crime and riff raff gets cleaned up nobody in their right mind is going to make the investment necessary to open a first class restaurant on Broad street. Had Ms Laubenthal moved Moss to Westlake or Sheffield or Avon where people can spend the kind of coin she was charging she may still be in business.

    • Mark B

      Not likely with the attitude she showed towards her customers. To be a viable busieness you have to have repeat customers, i know many people that went there once and vowed to never go back because of Sandy and her attitude.

      • Greg White

        Attitude will kill you every time!

    • agent5959

      The “crime and riff raff” is completely overblown. I’ve spent a good share of time downtown and haven’t seen this apparent dangerous element people speak of. Any number of good local businesses can open downtown, but the real change needs to start with the residents.

      Perhaps if Elyria residents didn’t always take their money to “Westlake or Sheffield or Avon,” we could revitalize downtown simply by keeping our investments here. Personally, I’m heading to Downtown Dogs this afternoon for lunch. That’s how it works.

      • Greg White

        Just because you choose to turn a blind eye to the problem does mean the rest of us are wrong. I own a business in this town and desperately want to see the city succeed but I see whats going on. And its not pretty.

        • agent5959

          It’s not an example of turning a blind eye. After having lived in larger cities and smaller towns, Elyria simply doesn’t have any more “crime and riff raff” than the average. That’s not to say that Elyria in the 1980s wasn’t better (and I wasn’t around to know if it was), but apples to apples, Elyria isn’t this crime-ridding gangland that people make it out to be.

  • J

    Between the location and the owner, it’s no surprise.

  • cad-s

    This is just sad. She had opportunities but blew it every time. Sad.

  • Joe Sandor

    It is valued at $210k, but wouldn’t sell for $135k at a previous offering.
    Not a good prospect for an eatery . . .
    . . . No ample parking
    . . . Bad part of downtown
    . . . Too many closed businesses nearby
    . . . Terrible surroundings
    . . . Too little area income for anything medium-to-upscale

  • KZ14

    When was the last time you ate there Brinda? How about your counter parts?