‘I was being extorted:’ Grand Tavern closes sole Grandview Heights shop after 3 months open

‘I was being extorted:’ Grand Tavern closes sole Grandview Heights shop after 3 months open

See a previous report on Grand Tavern’s opening in the video player above.

GRANDVIEW HEIGHTS, Ohio (WCMH) — The owner of a Grandview Heights bar has shut it down after just a few months of operating, citing bad business dealings with the landlord and nightmarish renovation costs.

The Grand Tavern, located at 1111 W. 1st. Ave., held its official opening on Dec. 22. The bar had soft-launched in November, but by Feb. 7, owner Andrea Spence announced on the business’s social media that she had enough.

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“I was being extorted for $10k and I refused to pay,” Spence wrote. “And after threatening to lock me out multiple times I walked away, for my own sanity. I have copies of wire transfers verifying the rent was paid on time every month. I put large amounts of money and time into replacing equipment and refurbishing a tired smelly bar.”

Spence was trying to rehab Marshall’s Restaurant and Bar, which closed in 2022 after 37 years in business. Her lease split the building in half with another tenant, letting her focus on providing a bar while a franchise of breakfast diners set up next door.

  • The remodeled exterior of Marshall’s with Grand Tavern’s new design. (Courtesy Photo/Andrea Spence)
    The remodeled exterior of Marshall’s with Grand Tavern’s new design. (Courtesy Photo/Andrea Spence)
  • The outside of Grand Tavern at night. (Courtesy Photo/Andrea Spence)
    The outside of Grand Tavern at night. (Courtesy Photo/Andrea Spence)
  • Marshall’s Restaurant & Bar sits empty after closing permanently. (NBC4 Photo/Mark Feuerborn)
    Marshall’s Restaurant & Bar sits empty after closing permanently. (NBC4 Photo/Mark Feuerborn)

Spence noted that Grand Tavern never faced any citations or issues from local health inspectors, nor were there profitability concerns. She expected she would break even in the first year of business but could not justify staying with a landlord she said was falsely billing her for common area maintenance.

“When they finally showed a receipt for annual insurance, it was for $3,700, not $9,000,” Spence wrote.

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In replies to comments on the post from patrons, Spence revealed she had paid $125,000 for what she was told would be a “turnkey business.” She also claimed she spent more than $100,000 to remodel and add plumbing to Grand Tavern. Spence said in a previous interview with NBC4 that some of her aesthetic additions included patio propane heaters, wood trim and bar rails, chandelier lighting and a British phone booth she found on Facebook Marketplace.

  • The interior of the Grand Tavern. (Courtesy Photo/Andrea Spence)
    The interior of the Grand Tavern. (Courtesy Photo/Andrea Spence)
  • The interior of the Grand Tavern. (Courtesy Photo/Andrea Spence)
    The interior of the Grand Tavern. (Courtesy Photo/Andrea Spence)
  • The interior of the Grand Tavern. (Courtesy Photo/Andrea Spence)
    The interior of the Grand Tavern. (Courtesy Photo/Andrea Spence)

But Spence said her renovations couldn’t compete with lasting issues inside of the tavern. The closure announcement documented a leaking roof, the men’s bathroom smelling like “sewer gas,” do-it-yourself electrical wiring, “weird stuff” falling from the ceiling, a crumbling sidewalk and uneven flooring.

She also warned that there would be more bills coming for any business that took over the space.

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“They have big plans for capital improvements that any tenants will be forced to pay for, new parking lot in April for $25k,” Spence added.

While she didn’t give specifics, Spence did say that the story may not be over for Grand Tavern.

“We are looking for another location. We will keep the same name,” Spence wrote.

The owners of the property said they could not comment on Grand Tavern’s departure or Spence’s allegations, citing a request from their attorneys.

Delaney’s Diner also set up shop in the restaurant portion of Marshall’s, making it the fourth location for the chain. As of Thursday, that business remained open and had not disclosed any plans to leave the property.

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