A series of hiccups in figuring out the logistics for Biella's future caused owner Mark Nazigian to do some soul searching.
He decided it would be best to close the Italian restaurant, located at 227 Water St. in downtown Excelsior and move back home on the East Coast to be with his family.
"You can always start a new business, you can't have a new family," he said.
The restaurant's last day will be June 24, which will be nearly 10 years to the day that Biella opened, Nazigian said.
Nazigian said when he learned the rent at his current location was going to be doubled, he started looking into his options.
Previously Nazigian had been in talks with contacts at Lord Fletcher's to start up a new steakhouse, called X, which was slated to be on the corner of Water and Second streets, which is the former Ming Wok location. That project ended up being scrapped.
"Another thing too we thought about was steakhouses are on the decline with the economy and everything so we felt that was a good move not to get involved with that anyway," he said.
With the corner spot still lying empty, Nazigian had hoped to move Biella down there. Nazigian said the process of trying to negotiate that move did not go well. Nazigian cited frustration with Hennepin County and other regulations along with the increasing costs of moving and delays as the reason to not go through with the move.
Nazigian has been in the restaurant business for about 30 years. Before coming to Excelsior, Nazigian opened Ravello Ristorante in Long Lake. After eight years at Ravello, Nazigian's chef approached him about purchasing the restaurant. Nazigian then saw the opportunity to open a new restaurant with a similar concept, but on the other side of the lake.
"I came over to Excelsior and I knew it had a lot of potential," Nazigian said.
Since announcing the closing of Biella, Nazigian said he's been overwhelmed with community support. The first day Nazigian announced the closing he said he received more than 100 e-mails.
"A couple of the mayors called me, thanking me for kind of putting Excelsior on the map. Before I got here Excelsior wasn't really anything, so that was really nice that the mayors said that," he said.
Nazigian describes his customer base in Excelsior as the most loyal customers he's ever had.
"Everyone's coming in to say goodbye. The customers that I have here are the best customer's I've ever had. They're very loyal and so forth, it's been great. The employees have been great, everybody's staying on until the end. It'll be a great three more weeks," he said.
Nazigian said he has been approached by a few people who are interested in buying Biella to keep it open, but no serious offers or plans have been made.
Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2013
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This guy might be the most arrogant business owner I have ever heard of. Being born and raised in Excelsior, I can assure him the the town was great before him and will thrive nicely once he is done. Don't let the door hit you Mark.