December 22, 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.