Popular Butler County restaurant closes its doors

A local restaurant has closed, citing the slow economy.

The Red Onion, a Monroe restaurant that featured fine dining on Main Street, closed its doors May 31, according to owner Mark Bursley.

Bursley said the restaurant kept up its customer count, but the average check went down from about $40 a person to $10 a person. He said many people have been opting for various sandwiches instead of elegant meals that featured crab cakes, seafood Alfredo, and first class steaks.

“We had great success in the beginning, but unfortunately some things come to an end,” he said. “The economy has truly slowed down and restaurant sales are down everywhere.”

In addition to the declining business, Bursley said he needed to take care of himself due to declining health issues. He said that he wanted to be closer to family who live out of town and was tired of losing money.

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He declined to comment on the business’ financials.

Bursley said the 160-year-old building that housed the restaurant also created problems for the restaurant. The building at 214 S. Main St. was once a stop on the stagecoach line between Dayton and Cincinnati.

Bursley has received some interest from people who want to take over the restaurant, he said, but declined to comment further.

With the closing, the 15 employees that provided service to the restaurant’s seven tables, are out of work.

The closing will also affect Monroe’s downtown area, officials said.

“I am sorry to see it has closed its doors,” Monroe City Manager William Brock said. “It has been a fixture in this community for many years and known throughout the region. It will leave a hole in our downtown and will be missed.”

Bursley, who has worked 25 years in the food distribution business, opened the restaurant in October 2006. When asked if he might return to the restaurant business, he said, “probably not.”

What Bursley said he’ll miss most are his guests and their immediate feedback on a job well done.

As for advice to a future restaurateur, Bursley said they should “work their way through the business and learn everything hands-on before you buy.”

“Make sure you know what it all entails and make sure you have plenty of money to put into it,” he said. “You can make a small fortune in the restaurant business, but you need to start out with a large fortune.”

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