Posted: 5:00 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013
By Skip Weaver
Changes under way inside Mahogany’s Cafe and Grill could lead to new management of the restaurant in Hamilton’s Second Ward.
The restaurant at 863 Central Ave. has been closed since November for renovations, according to owner Liz Rogers.
“The Cincinnati location has been extremely busy and we just ended up wanting to do more renovations to mirror the (Cincinnati) location,” Rogers said.
Rogers said she also is “seriously thinking” about leasing the Hamilton restaurant to someone else.
“Hamilton has been great and was a really good start for our brand,” Rogers said. “But 99 percent of my customers were from everywhere but Hamilton. When we opened the (Cincinnati) location, we saw a decrease in clientele (in Hamilton).”
Rogers said she wants to eventually expand her brand across the U.S., adding that she has already received several invitations from other cities.
“Right now I just need to focus on the brand,” she said.
Renovations at the Hamilton location include the installation of new kitchen equipment, and a new floor to be laid in the coming weeks, according to Rogers.
Some menu items will also change to reflect the Cincinnati location, she said.
The restaurant is under renovation until the summer, according to its website.
Bob Harris, president of the Southeast Civic Association, said he had not spoken with Rogers since the location closed in November.
“She was getting business from all four corners of the region,” he said. “It was a good restaurant.”
Rogers opened Mahogany’s in August 2010 in Hamilton with her husband, Trent. In March 2012, Cincinnati City Council approved a $684,000 grant for design and construction of Mahogany’s Cafe and Grill at The Banks riverfront development. It also approved a $300,000 loan for the purchase of furniture, fixtures and equipment, and to establish a working capital fund for the restaurant.
The nearly $1 million in financing for the Cincinnati location came on the heels of reports of tax debt issues the Rogers’ had related to other businesses they own or previously owned.