Eclipse restaurant in Northampton closes after financial struggles
NORTHAMPTON — Despite renovating its Main Street space earlier this month, Eclipse Restaurant closed its doors for good Saturday.
The fine dining establishment had difficulty meeting its operational expenses and could no longer keep the business afloat, said general manager Andrew Diehl. The restaurant at 186 Main St. had 12 employees.
Owner Jean Weller said she and her son, Zachariah Gorham, the head chef, had high hopes for the restaurant when it opened about three years ago. But the business struggled financially from the beginning, she said.
“We never really quite got it right, and as a result of that we struggled from Day One,” Weller said.
Diehl said the decision was not a shock for those familiar with the business.
“Some people were surprised but a lot of people were expecting it,” he said.
John Casey Douglass, chef and owner of the Apollo Grill in Easthampton, said Gorham was putting out a good product but was likely hamstrung by rent payments that were among the highest downtown.
Douglass for a time served as a consultant to the business and thought about partnering with Weller and Gorham. About a year ago he opted not to pursue that idea because of the lease, he said.
Weller agreed that the rent payments made it tough to do business. She said the building that houses Eclipse recently sold, giving her hope that the restaurant might be able to rework its lease with the new owner.
“It didn’t come soon enough,” she said. “It’s been a struggle. We’re tired.”
She said the restaurant is paying its employees and is in the process of meeting its other financial obligations. She’d like to sell the restaurant and accompanying beer and wine license to another restaurant owner.
“It’s a turn-key restaurant,” Weller said, noting that the equipment is in place and the space has recently been renovated. “Especially with the change in building ownership, it would be a good deal.”
The Main Street space has been home to several restaurants over the last few years.
Prior to Eclipse, the space was home to Bistro 186 for 11 months, and a pair of delis with similar names, Better Thyme Deli and Good Thyme Deli.
Eclipse made the news for something other than its dishes in 2011 for allegedly serving alcohol to underage Smith College students the night after the Halloween snowstorm. The city’s License Commission suspended the restaurant’s liquor license for three days in the wake of the incident.