Two signs are posted on the front of Thomas Restaurant on 39th Street’s restaurant row.
One notice on the chalkboard says: “Thanks for the memories 39th St. See you on the flip side! Thomas”
The other sign, on the front door says: “Closed for remodeling.”
Both are accurate.
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Owner Brian Donatell said he closed the restaurant in late July when he was in final negotiations to sell it to another restaurant that had promised to keep all of his employees. But then the deal fell through.
Now he is in negotiations with another restaurant. Donatell was in the space, at 1815 W. 39th St., Monday morning to have new flooring put in.
“I was ready to do something different,” he said. “It’s been a long run. Before that I owned and operated several Papa John’s for 10 years.”
Thomas was described as a having a “good bar, good food and zero pretensions.”
Donatell opened the restaurant with his childhood friend, Kevin VanEmburgh, in mid-2006, naming it after Donatell’s brother and father. He said VanEmburgh left about five years ago to pursue a career in photography and website design.
“He’s still my best friend and I still talk to him every day,” Donatell said.
Cafe Allegro had long operated in the space before closing in 2002. Joe D’s and Matadors then had short stints there. The 3,800-square-foot restaurant has a private dining room and rooftop deck.