I reached owner Sal Ambrosio by telephone yesterday and he confirmed that the restaurant is closed, but he added “for now.” Ambrosio, who also works on NASCAR pit crews during racing season, said he’s just been too busy lately to keep it all going. He said he’s working for the Gibbs racing program. It has been reported that he also owns a landscaping company.
This is a disappointing twist for Ernie’s fans, especially after the nice story behind Ambrosio’s opening of the restaurant in January 2011. At that time, he was able to bring Ernie Arthur, founder of The Boiler Room (a famous, long-closed Roanoke spot) and Ernie’s on the Market out of retirement (temporarily) to help him open the place on South Colorado Street. Folks who remembered the famous potato cakes and other fare at the original restaurants were able to get their fix in Salem.
Ambrosio said he may be able to reopen Ernie’s Grill, but for the time being it will remain closed. He promised to let us know if he plans to reopen.