Ben Moore's closes, future unclear

Staff writerAugust 7, 2013 

A message on the front door of Ben Moore's restaurant Wednesday explains why the business has closed.

ROLF BOONE

Ben Moore’s, the longtime downtown restaurant and bar has closed, although it wasn’t immediately clear Wednesday whether the business has closed for good or might reopen in some other incarnation.

A note attached to the front door of the business on Wednesday gave this explanation:

“Thank you for your business and support. Michael Murphy (the owner) is ill, and we are now closed. After remodeling we will open under new management. Please come see us soon.”

A phone message also states that the number has been temporarily disconnected.

Attorney James Dart, who represented Murphy in a recent bankruptcy filing, said Wednesday that Murphy was ill, and Dart was not aware of a plan to reopen the business, although he said the landlord might have such plans.

Dart referred a reporter to Michael Gusa, a lawyer for the landlord. Gusa could not be reached Wednesday.

Although long considered a kind of icon for downtown Olympia, the business had struggled.

About a year ago, Murphy filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection. He also filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1985, followed by Chapter 13 filings in 2002 and 2007.

Chapter 11 typically allows a business to restructure debts, while under Chapter 13, the debtor establishes a repayment plan.

Dart, at the time, said Murphy was committed to keeping the business going.

Murphy has owned the business for about 30 years, although the restaurant is much older than that. The Ben Moore’s building was built in 1928, according to Thurston County Assessor data.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 rboone@theolympian.com

Rolf Boone rboone@theolympian.com 360-754-5403

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