Strike Ri Ra Irish Pub and Restaurant at Fourth Street Live off your list of downtown restaurants.
Multiple sources confirmed that employees were told this weekend the five-year-old restaurant was closing for good.
Asked why Ri Ra in Louisvlle closed, an employee at Ri Ra Group of Companies, the New Canaan, Ct.-based parent company, said only, “At this time, we’re not authorized to make any comment.”
Ri Ra was one of the few Fourth Street Live restaurants, other than Hard Rock Cafe and TGI Fridays, not controlled by The Cordish Cos., which owns Fourth Street Live.
No one returned our calls to Cordish’s headquarters in Baltimore.
In December 2008, at the depths of The Great Recession, Ri Ra investors spent more than $1.5 million to open what they said would be Louisville’s most authentic Irish pub. The imposing main bar was salvaged from Republic of Ireland, then shipped to Louisville in two 40-foot containers.
The 17-year-old parent company had 12 (now 11) locations in the East and Southeast including Atlanta and Charlotte.
Ri Ra is the third Fourth Street Live restaurant to close since late 2012, joining Quattro (which started out as MoZZeria) and The Pub. Quattro was plagued by management issues from the the beginning. The Pub closed because of lease disputes with Cordish, according to media reports.
This leaves Cordish with an increasing amount of empty space in the center of the entertainment block.
Restaurant sources at Fourth Street Live say Cordish executives still plan to replace the vacant Improv Comedy Club on the second floor with The Tavern, a live-music venue that was announced more than a year ago. In March, 2012, Cordish and their leasing agent, Hogan Real Estate, announced The Tavern would be open by now.
However, construction never began, and there are no construction permits filed for the space. There is, however, a construction permit for a giant digital video screen in the center of the block.
More as we know more.