Maybe if they were serving $20 steaks and artisanal beer. Or if the space were half the size it is now. Or, if, instead of a five-person staff to keep things running, there could have been just one.
Maybe then, says owner Irina Cochran, her Local Jam restaurant could still be in business. But none of those maybe's were possible, so the popular Local Jam will close this afternoon, after serving brunch to many loyal customers.
"We just couldn't make enough revenue to support such a huge establishment," said Cochran, whose partner in the restaurant is Drew French, owner of Your Pie pizza. "We would need three times the number of people we were getting and an alcohol license."
But that didn't happen at the Local Jam. Instead, it served up wonderful breads and jams, mac 'n cheese, great breakfasts and Reuben sandwiches, among other fare. Oh, and don't forget the Russian food Cochran served regularly. That was really popular. It was a place where you could talk and feel comfortable.
An obscure Georgia law prevented the partners from getting an alochol license. Because Irina's husband iJohn Cochran s the CEO of Terrapin Brewery, neither she nor anyone in her immediate family can obtain an alochol license. Having such a license could have, perhaps, helped keep her business going.
The first few months the Local Jam was open, parking--or the lack of it--was an issue. The problem got resolved in April, but by then, Cochran knew the end was likely. There had been too many months of too few customers buying too little to eat in a large, 100-seat restaurant where an average ticket was $8.
"There have been a lot of tears this week," Cochran said. For this story, she didn't want her photo taken because she had cried off her makeup. "I'm going to miss our regular customers."