12Eleven Brisket owner shutters restaurant
Inconsistent sales, overhead costs cited for decision
The restaurant that replaced the restaurant that opened in the Casanave building in March 2016 has closed.
12Eleven Brisket, which took over when Dickey’s Barbecue Pit shut down last fall, went out of business Friday, said owner Stephanie Trude.
“I did what I could,” Trude said. “I’m sorry.”
She blamed overhead — rent, utilities, supplies and wages — coupled with inconsistent sales.
“There would be a couple of good days, then really bad days, where you’d say, ‘where is everybody?'” she said.
Some people she encountered said the setting was a problem — a “rear-view mirror location” — because the building is on a sort of peninsula around which traffic coming off one-way 12th and 13th avenues sweeps by, converging onto one-way Chestnut Avenue, heading away from the store.
“The building is fantastic,” said Patrick Miller, CEO of the Greater Altoona Economic Development Corp.. “The renovation is unbelievable. And the space is first-class.”
Nevertheless, “You see the location kind of after you pass” because of the traffic pattern, Miller said. “It could be considered difficult.”
It’s hard to say whether the spot still might be a good one for a food service, he indicated.
Location tends to be most important for businesses that rely on visibility and foot traffic, he said.
Trude’s co-tenant, 220 Studios, has a business model that doesn’t depend on those factors, he indicated.
Trude knew for certain she was going to close for about a week, she said.
She had a “really, really good staff,” one that showed loyalty in finishing out even after she’d told them the end was coming, she said.
She plans to honor the restaurant’s catering commitments, she said.
Her catering business will continue as 1211 Catering, with operations as a sub-lease tenant out of the Nehemiah Project’s Wright Elementary School site.
Two of the restaurant employees have committed to staying on with the catering business, Trude said.
She’s trying to help the other three with referrals, which have already generated offers, she said.
She wants to close 12Eleven “on a positive note,’ she said.
Her time downtown — she was manager of Dickey’s before becoming the owner of 12Eleven — led to “developing a lot of good relationships,” she said.
“I was blessed to be part of (downtown’s ongoing) revitalization,” she said .
She was supportive of the other businesses during her time there, she said.
“You can’t be in it all for yourself,” she said.
She thanked customers, many of whom became friends, she said.
She created 12Eleven Brisket when Jay Rhodes gave up the Dickey’s franchise — and a Dickey’s franchise in State College — to focus on his career in the U.S. Army Reserves, according to information published last year.
She enlarged the menu, adding vegetarian and vegan items, while making the menu “allergy friendly,” she said.
Officials at GAEDC will meet with the owners of the Casanave building “to see what they’re interested in,” Miller said.
“We’ll help in any way we can,” he said.
Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 949-7038.