Even on a Saturday night, the scene behind 6910 Montgomery NE, a small complex of restaurants near Louisiana, is as forlorn as an Edward Hopper painting. A server sits in a chair outside the entrance to the Indian restaurant Curry Leaf, gazing out at the almost empty parking lot. His counterpart at the Raw & Sauce Ultralounge holds a cellphone to his ear while heaving a basketball toward a hoop hung near the patio.
Nowadays, you may want to attribute low turnouts to the coronavirus, but a more plausible explanation here is the law of averages. More than half of restaurants fail in their first year. This fourplex alone has has Tap That, Poki Poblano and South Bourbon Kitchen close in the past few years.
At first blush, it’s not a bad spot. Coe & Peterson, developers who specialize in sprucing up generic strip malls, lined the back of the place with patios, awnings, pergolas and a fire pit. In the front, a skeletal framework rises above a façade hung with big red letters that say “Eats Beers Desserts Cocktails.”