Good morning, Netizens...
As Tom Sowa noted in the Spokesman-Review online this morning, the Empyrean Coffee House will be closing its doors January 15, 2011. However, there is more to the story than was noted.
Michelle Riddle and her sister, Chrisy Riddle, ran the shop first at 154 S. Madison. After building owners raised the rent they moved to 171 S. Washington, according to the story in the SR. However, I do recall that at the South Madison location they were faced with installing fire suppression equipment, which was cost-prohibitive and resulted in the move to the location, 171 S. Washington, the former location of The Big Dipper.
They moved in Jan. 13, 2010. They’ll hold their final music show Jan. 15, Michelle Riddle is quoted as saying.
Now I do not know if Tom Sowa ever set foot in either the Madison Street address nor the new address for Empyrean. However, I know my wife and I attended several shows in the Empyrean before the move and we were not impressed. Although it had every reason to be successful as a dinner and music house, they never pursued dinner offerings as part of their venue. They simply tried to make Empyrean work on espresso drinks and snacks, and in this town, that simply won't cut the mustard, regardless of the musical talent they brought to the fore.
I would be more concerned about the potential closure of The Mac. It has historical and social significance which The Empyrean never seemed to have acquired.