Cooked & Co on Garth Road is permanently shutting its doors as of today, Friday, Aug. 28.
Owner-chef Herb Lindstrom, a Scarsdale resident for the past decade, started Cooked & Co. in April 2012 as a small food market, then added brunch service and “got so busy” he expanded the business into the space next door and reopened in the summer of 2018.
Now two years later, the popular eatery is closing due to the economic blight caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lindstrom said he received a Paycheck Protection Program loan from the government “a couple months back” and tried to get the business going again. But the money ran out last week, he said, and he was “not able to build the business back enough to sustain it.”
“We were looking to lose a lot of money each week, and with no plan from the government about when this would all end” and whether more economic relief would be available, “it was just too risky to borrow money to keep going,” Lindstrom said.
Chef Lindstrom previously worked at Standing Room Only in Scarsdale until he decided to “change careers.” But his passion for food preparation “sucked me back in,” he said, and he was catering from his house for many loyal customers until he rented a storefornt on Garth Road and opened Cooked & Co.
After six or so years, business was strong enough that he decided to expand the market and a fleet of tables with food service. While the business was able to survive a “nightmare” year of renovations bogged down by “holdups” from the town of Eastchester, it just couldn’t survive the pandemic.
“We went from 10 to 30 employees, then it became this beast … We are a casualty of COVID,” he said. “If we had never expanded we would be able to hold on.”
What’s next for this Scarsdale businessman? “I have to see what the scene is and what’s going on … I have a lot of friends in the [culinary] business, so I might do consulting or work in my friends’ kitchens,” he said, adding that he would consider opening a food market again “after this thing ends completely.”
For now, he just wants to “decompress for a while.”
Though Lindstrom wouldn’t disclose anything about the ongoing negotiations for the space he’s vacating, he did say his landlord Bill Weinberg offered some relief for the $13,000 monthly rent he paid for the 3,000-square-foot space. But it was not enough to convince him to keep going.
When New York State allowed limited business activity to restart in early June, Cooked & Co. reopened with take out and curbside pickup, and three weeks ago the market added in-person service. Lindstrom said customer demand was “good but not enough.”
His farewell message to the community is for people “to continue to support small businesses, because I’m sure there’s going to be more [forced to close] when the money runs out.”