By Jason A. Smith
December 31, for many people, represents a fresh start and a new beginning.
However for the staff of Redz restaurant in McDonough, New Year's Eve will mark the end of an era. The eatery at 32 Macon St., will close its doors after three years of operation.
"I know I've done my best, and I can walk out with my head held high," says Redz owner Quinn O'Neill. "The most difficult part about [closing], is to know we had our best year this year."
O'Neill, 37, named the restaurant in honor of the red mane sported by his son, Connor.
O'Neill, who is originally from New York, said he opened Redz because of a desire to "bring Atlanta to McDonough," and to be in an environment conducive to raising a child. He knew running a business would be a struggle, but was determined to give his best in the effort, even if it meant being the first to arrive at work and the last one to leave.
Economic pressures in the country have hurt small businesses like Redz, resulting in layoffs and other difficult decisions earlier this year. Despite increasing its business by approximately 10 percent, O'Neill was faced with choices he did not want to make.
He took a sizable pay cut, in an effort to stem the tide of financial troubles for Redz.
Still those troubles continued, and have resulted in a 25-30 percent drop in holiday functions for the restaurant. O'Neill considered the well-being of his family, including his wife who is expecting their second child. He was soon forced to close Redz, and immediately informed his staff of the move.
"I have seen owners of other businesses close their doors and not tell employees, and I didn't want to do that," he says. "I want to be able to walk out of here with integrity, and be up-front and honest with people. When I told them, there wasn't a dry eye in the room."
O'Neill is proud of his "loyal and dedicated staff," and is confident each of them will be able to maintain successful culinary careers.
One of those staff members is Brandon Collins, who took a pay cut at the same time his boss did in an effort to save the restaurant. Collins, 27, has worked at Redz since it opened, and calls the opportunity "amazing." He hopes the restaurant will be able to "finish strong" at the end of the month.
"I want the last person who eats at Redz to get the same experience as the first person who walked in the door."
O'Neill would like Redz to be remembered as a place which set the bar, for fine dining and a unique atmosphere in McDonough. To that end, the restaurant will offer a three-course dinner at 5:30 p.m., and 7:30 p.m., New Year's Eve. The cost of dinner is $45.
A party will be held following dinner, featuring a live band, disc jockey and dance floor. The price of admission to the celebration is $25.
For more information, call (770) 914-5723.