After four-and-a-half years in business, the doors of Quirks Grill and Bar in Nevada will be closing Aug. 19, as announced by owners Christine and Shane Heintz last week.
The Heintzes, who live in Nevada, say there are many factors in why they’ve chosen to close, but the biggest factor for them is “time.”
“We are expanding the laundromat to Boone next spring (they own Squeaky Clean in Nevada now) and our children are getting into activities,” Christine said. “We want to be able to spend more uninterrupted time with our family.”
Christine’s father suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease and she also wants herself and her kids to spend more time with him and her mother, so her children will remember him.
“We are also tired of the constant struggle with keeping a full-, well-functioning staff. The restaurant industry has a high turnover rate, and it has become more and more difficult to find good, honest employees,” she said.
Several things, like a computer system crashing, their kids getting ready for school soon and the road construction blocking their main entrance have been recent challenges, further giving them cause to think about closing at this time. Christine said a final straw ended up being when they had to deal with a former employee matter where thousands of dollars were stolen from the restaurant. That situation, pressing charges and the stress it caused, she said, brought her to an emotional breaking point. “My skin is not as thick as it used to be,” Christine said, noting that remarks on social media and phone calls about the situation added to her stress.
By no means, the Heintzes emphasize, was their decision to close because the business was failing. They’ve seen a business fail, they say, but this one wasn’t.
As owners of the entire building, where the restaurant is housed, they’d love to see the restaurant area purchased. “We would love to see something similar to Quirks, but we’ll look at all options as they come to us,” Shane said.
“This area (where Quirks has been located) will more than likely be split into two units, as it was built as suites #3 and #4. One area will be around 1,800 square feet, with the other around 3,000 square feet, or we can leave it all together. We will not do much to it until we get a new tenant. We have already received much interest regarding the spaces and that is a pleasant surprise,” he said.
Before making the decision to close the restaurant, the Heintzes had been expanding into catering; had been booking a decent amount of parties in the private room; and were having a lot of success with new, fresh specials they were running. “2016 was better than 2015,” they both agree.
“This isn’t to say that everything was perfect, but it was doing well,” Shane said. “Business had been going steady for the past few years until April of this year when the city began road construction on Sixth Street. We began to see a decline at that time, and when the street was closed directly in front of us, we saw a significant decrease. We have also seen this decrease in our sales at Squeaky Clean (because of the road work).”
The Heintzes say they hope the city has better communication and more consideration for the businesses when they do the rest of Sixth Street. “From a business perspective, this project has been awful. As citizens, we understand completely that it needs to be done, but it has had terrible impacts on both of our businesses located in this building,” Shane said.
Quirks is not the first restaurant to occupy the same space in the old Smitty’s building. In 2007, there was The Branding Iron. They closed in 2010 or 2011 and then it was reopened as Café Vada for a few months in 2012. “We opened Quirks in December of 2012. Mark (their son) was 6 months old and we would find out four weeks later that Christine was pregnant, with Rae,” Shane said.
Before opening, the Heintzes said people approached them and told them what they wanted in a local restaurant. “We listened and did mostly what they asked for,” Christine said. “We were hearing that people wanted a casual, family-friendly place where you could get good food at a reasonable price and not be ashamed to bring your kids to if you wanted a beer. That is what we tried to make Quirks into. We think we got pretty close to that mark.”
So the Heintzes would love to see another restaurant similar to Quirks. “Everything is there to do it and once construction is done, we’re sure it could be another success. It just needs to be someone that dedicates all of their time to it. We would happily even share some of Quirks’ secrets,” Christine said.
Quirks’ current 10 employees were told Aug. 1 about the closing, which was publicly announced the next day.
“We want to thank our employees. They have all been doing a really good job and have stepped up and really work great together as a team. We really appreciate that they are sticking with us to the end,” Christine said.
Charly King has been the most recent manager and the Heintzes say he has been doing a wonderful job. King had announced earlier that he’d be leaving Quirks to take a full-time job with DuPont soon. That was another factor in the Heintzes’ decision. “Without him there, we do not have the time to dedicate to Quirks.”
Most of all, Christine and Shane want to thank the community for the four-and-a-half years of support. “We were so happy to be a part of some of your memories, and you did show us that it (a successful restaurant) can be done in Nevada,” Christine said.