UPDATED 3:37 p.m.: I talked to Kevin Jarvis, chef/owner of Norberto’s, about his decision to close. He said it is based on the fact that business has slowed considerably over the past couple of months.
Jarvis, who opened Norberto’s in November 2011, said when he looks back at the books from early this year, he sees Friday and Saturday nights that were fully booked with reservations. But in October and November, those numbers began to decline considerably. Now, he said, he’s getting three or four reservations on those typically busier nights.
“I’ve been racking my brain about it,” he said. “Everybody seems to love the food and says the place looks better” than it did when he bought it. “Everybody seems to think that the portion sizes are good and everything of that nature.”
Jarvis said he wonders if an “overabundance” of restaurants in the Grandin Village area is part of the problem. He also said that serving lunch for a few months, which he stopped doing in August, stretched his resources too thin. Finally, high food prices have been a major concern.
“You can’t pass it all off to the customer, we have to eat some of it,” he said. “You can’t absorb a whole lot because whatever [money] we did have that was put off to the side we have put back into the business.”
Jarvis said he and his wife may decide to open another restaurant someday, but right now he just doesn’t know what the future will bring. He said he’ll likely look for a job at another restaurant. Before buying Norberto’s, Jarvis cooked at Montano’s on Franklin Road in Roanoke for many years.
“We appreciate everybody that supported us through the year that we were here,” Jarvis said. “I’m sorry it has been here for so long and that we are closing the doors as soon as new ownership has taken over, but me and my wife have done our best.”
Please note that Norberto’s will be open through the end of the year, so if you want to dine there before it closes, go soon. END UPDATE
Norberto’s Italian Restaurant, which has been a fixture in the Grandin Village area of Roanoke for about 27 years, will close at the end of this year.
The closure notice is posted on the front of the restaurant, and this status was posted on the Norberto’s Italian Restaurant Facebook page on Nov. 29:
“Well after long consideration and time thinking and trying not to come up with this decision we at Norbertos would like to say thanks for all of your support through out the year that my wife and myself have owned and operated Norbertos. We will be closing down at the first of the year again thank you for all your support. We will be open the month of December look forward to seeing everybody.”
Norberto’s was originally opened by Norberto Silva on Campbell Avenue in downtown Roanoke in the 1980s. In 1992, he moved the restaurant to Memorial Avenue in Grandin Village. When Silva decided to get out of the business, the restaurant was purchased by Kevin Jarvis, who has owned and operated it since November 2011. Jarvis, a former chef for Montano’s International Restaurant on Franklin Road, is also the chef at Norberto’s.
I have attempted to reach Jarvis yesterday and today and hope to hear back from him very soon. When I do, I will see if he wants to talk to me about why they have made this decision and their plans for the future.