Apparently the Pharmacy has found the cure for its ills.
Its closure on Aug. 18, first reported here and represented on its Facebook page as a one-week "kitchen remodeling," was due to financial problems. As was said at the time, the Restaurant Row speakeasy-style bar and restaurant was in need of new investors. Those investors have been found and the restaurant will reopen Thursday, Aug. 31, according to owner Loren Falsone.
Make that former owner. According to Falsone, who was reached by phone Thursday morning at the restaurant as she prepared for the reopening, the agreement, which has not yet been finalized, includes having the new investors take on full ownership. Falsone and Dominick Tartugno, who also opened the bar in 2013, will stay on as employees.
"I'm putting one foot in front of the other," she said, "and breathing."
"We had quite a few opportunities in the works in terms of potential investors," she said. "Basically, we had the thought that whoever gets to the finish line first is the winner."
Crossing the line first, apparently, was a mother-and-daughter relay team, according to Falsone. They currently own a barbecue restaruant in Florida Mall. The new owners were not immediately available for comment.
Asked what else will be different about the "new" Pharmacy, Falsone said that the new business model will probably include marketing, something that is counter to the speakeasy culture.
"Our concept is 1920s speakeasy," she said. "Keeping in line with being a hush-hush restaurant, we have never embraced the noting of marketing." Instead, they relied on word of mouth and the buzz that can be generated by the speakeasy mystique. Customers don't need to know a password to get in, as some latter-day speakeasies require, but they do have to know that its door is disguised as an elevator.
The speakeasy concept, based on secretive backroom bars during Prohibition, had a nostalgic resurgence several years ago. Asked whether the allure had passed, Falsone conceded that that might be the case. But, she added, "The speakeasy concept will always have a magical a magical thing." Referring to people who finally figure out the elevator-door trick, she said, "That reaction is something that is priceless."
Some staff members have moved on since the closing, though she said a part-time bartender has been moved to full-time status and another who had been full-time but found another position will return part-time. And she'll have to adjust as a full-time employee instead of the owner.
"I'm mostly excited that Pharmacy will continue forward," she said.
Pharmacy, at 8060 Via Dellagio Way, Orlando, will open at 5 p.m.