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Westchester Restaurateur Blames Rising Costs For Closures

The last night of Michael's was a sad time for owner Doug Crossett, who said he was grateful for the community's support. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman
Michael's Tavern closed after 37 years on Friday. Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. -- Doug Crossett is looking forward to a good night's sleep after a lifetime of owning restaurants.

Crossett, a Katonah resident who grew up in Pleasantville, stunned people last week when he announced he was closing his three restaurants , Michael's and McArthur's in Pleasantville and Oliver's in Katonah. Michael's had been in Pleasantville for 37 years.

Crossett blamed rising rent, labor costs and food costs as for why he had to close his three restaurants.

"I was a victim of my own success," Crossett said. "How much can you charge for a burger, even in Westchester? I was viable and profitable, but then I became less so."

Crosset said the state raising the minimum wage for tipped employees from $5 an hour to $7.50 also hurt business.

"Suddenly it cost me $8,000 out of the blue," Crossett said.

As he closed his restaurants, Crossett was able to set up his employees with interviews with a nearby restaurateur who runs Bobby Van's, a chain of steakhouses in the area.

"I was honorable to my landlords and my staff," Crossett said. "I was able to bow out gracefully."

While Crossett is no longer running restaurants, he has not bowed out of the restaurant business completely. Crossett is now a restaurant consultant, evaluating restaurants and helping them sell or get funding

The sudden closure of his restaurants, which was made public the day they were going to close, was the nature of running a cash business, Crossett said.

The final day of his restaurants was a sad time , though Crossett said he was honored to hear from so many people what his restaurants meant to them.

"I grew up in Pleasantville," Crossett said. "I live in Katonah. Whoever takes over my restaurants is going to be lucky to do business in these communities."

At Michael's, there were so many people at closing time that Crossett had to call the police since people just didn't want to leave.

"It was their last few moments at their home," Crossett said. "I really saw the best of Westchester. My customers were extremely nice people. The restaurant business is 6.5 days a week. I'm looking forward to the next chapter of my life."

Crossett doesn't have to go far in case he needs a burger fix. His two sons run Yorktown Grille in Yorktown Heights.

"They better not charge me," Crossett said.

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