The Parrott House is closing until further notice for maintenance, repairs and a kitchen overhaul just one year after the building was renovated to become an upscale restaurant.
Owner Heidi Lael opened the Parrott House in February 2017 and employed more than 20 people. But this week, Lael said she had to lay off all her employees, citing Oregon unemployment laws, but wouldn’t provide additional details. Lael said she hopes to reopen in about a month, but could not say exactly when.
“It’s just time to take a breather and do some repairs and maintenance and really put some love into her,” Lael said, referring to the 127-year-old house. “I made sure to take care of everybody. I did everything I could do for them. I really care for them.”
A few weeks ago, there was a water leak large enough to shut down the restaurant for a day and it forced Lael to look at all of the little repairs that needed to be done in the house.
“We’ve got some damage control to do there,” Lael said. “I figured this was a good time to just get it all done at once, get her off to a good start for the holiday season. It’s a positive move in the right direction.”
Leal bought the historic house at 1581 SE Stephens Street in 2011 and began working on it more intently in 2014. The restaurant opened three years later.
“This will give me an opportunity to seal all of the wood and finish the paint. There’s a lot of things that have been put off and this is the best time to do it,” Lael said. “When you start a facility this size, not really knowing what to expect, you stand back and say, ‘Wow, I wasn’t anticipating this being too much for an old house to handle.’”
While they are doing repairs, the kitchen will also be renovated in the hope of creating a better workflow. The rest will be little things like fixing the stairs, which Lael said many, many people have walked up and down over the last year and a half.
In the meantime, while the restaurant side of the business is closed, the event side of the business will continue taking reservations and appointments since they can be planned around in advance.
The Parrott House opened with Lael’s vision to make it approachable for everybody: A place that could be a fine date night location, a meetup after a fishing trip in the river or a place to relax after work.
Lael said she hopes Parrott House customers will “be patient and look forward to everything we have to offer.”
“The response that we’ve received, it’s been overwhelming,” Lael said. “I had hoped for a good response and the response we’ve had has just simply been amazing. It’s motivating to get everything buttoned up and as close to perfect as we can.”