Hartel called me today to say that Rosebud is closing for good on Friday night. (Firek and chef Andrew Coins, who joined the team this spring, hope to reopen eventually in a new location). She plans to retire from restaurants — well, at least from owning them — and she's throwing a big celebration on Saturday that we're all invited to.
"I'm retiring," she said, then laughed and backpedaled. "Well, not really retiring. I will no longer own restaurants. That doesn't mean I'm never going to work for anybody or talk to anybody."
She added, "I just need to give myself some flexibility." Her mother died a couple years ago, and it's time for her to clean out her mom's Victorian house in the little town of Marietta, Ohio. Hartel's kids are also getting ready to leave the nest in the next couple years.
"It's very bittersweet," she said, laughing again. "I just want to figure out what I want to do for the rest of my life."
To mark the momentous occasion, "We're having a little blowout party," she said. It's set for Saturday night at Rosebud Bistro.
"It's mind-boggling how many people I've gotten to know over the years. It will be good to see all the people I don't usually get to see."
The kitchen staff will whip up tons of food, and Hartel will prepare her famous Asian-inspired dumplings. There will be a cash bar, but Hartel will supply some Champagne for toasts. The food will be free, but if you're so inclined you can slip a little something in the tip jar for the guys in the kitchen.
"Everybody's welcome," she says. "Anybody who's worked with me, anybody who's been to any of my restaurants, or who just wants to check out what restaurant people are all about."
Meanwhile, Hartel has promised to keep Bites posted on her future plans.
Rosebud Bistro is at 1806 Hayes St. Regular dinner service continues tonight and Friday, and the "blowout party" is 5 to 11 p.m. Saturday.