Restaurant owner asks customers for donations to stay afloat

Knoxville restaurant owner asks customers for donations to stay afloat

Posted:
Chef Bruce Bogartz owns RouXbarb on Northshore Drive and is asking customers for donations so the business can stay afloat. Chef Bruce Bogartz owns RouXbarb on Northshore Drive and is asking customers for donations so the business can stay afloat.
The restaurant is a regular on the Metro Pulse's Best of Knoxville awards The restaurant is a regular on the Metro Pulse's Best of Knoxville awards
Chef  Bogartz is also an award winner, but the restaurant still struggles. Chef Bogartz is also an award winner, but the restaurant still struggles.

By MONA NAIR
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The chef and owner of RouXbarb, a restaurant on Northshore Drive in Knoxville, is asking customers for donations so the business can stay afloat.

The restaurant features Southern cuisine.

Chef Bruce Bogartz says he needs $25,000-$40,000 to keep running. For the last year Bogartz says he has struggled to make ends meet. He admits he has not been the best businessman.

"It's been a tough year. My strength has never been in the front of the house and running the books. My strength has been in taking care of people," Bogartz said.

6 News has reported about Bogartz's restaurant in "Food For Thought."

RouXbarb has failed a few health inspections for problems like produce with mold on it and meat stored at an incorrect temperature.

"Part of not having money is that you can't get everything up to standard. I mean, I'm not making any excuses," he said.

The business was closed on Tuesday because operating hours have been cut, along with everything else they can to save money.

Bogartz asked his customers in an e-mail newsletter customers to help him out financially.

"If each of you could kick in just a little, RouXbarb would thrive and continue to be here for you," he writes.

Bogartz's plan may be working. While 6 News was there Marilyn Kallet stopped by.

She says she likes the duck breast at the restaurant so much, she once wrote a poem about it. Kallet was there Tuesday evening to write a check to Bogartz.

"We have to pitch in. This is a place we all love and care about," Kallet said.

It's that kind of help Bogartz is counting on, if he has any hope of keeping his Southern kitchen open.

"To go out there and bare your soul to the public is a scary thing. I've done all I can do," he said.

Bogartz says at the very least he needs $25,000 to stay open. Otherwise, he'll close in another week or two.

He says he has employees who need to be paid and a lot of other debt. 

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