As restaurant closes, another may open

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BENNINGTON — The South Street location of Cilantro, a counter-service restaurant that offered burritos, tacos and burrito bowls, abruptly closed on Friday, and a new, food-related tenant is expected to soon take over the space, offering a similar menu.

In an interview at the shuttered location on Wednesday, owner Cassidy Warren, 41, said the primary reason for the closure is that he's "just not a two-restaurant owner."

Cilantro's other location in Manchester Center, which has been open for about a decade, is "very profitable and very easy to run," Warren said, while the three-year-old Bennington location was not as profitable and "very hard to run."

Days before the closure, the restaurant's Facebook page, citing "staffing issues," announced scaled-back hours. Warren said that during the restaurant's final week only he and the manager were working there after a number of employees "stopped showing up."

"I had an incredibly hard time staffing," said Warren.

The business owner intends now to focus on "boosting" the Manchester location, which will remain open, "back to what it was," Warren said. "This place really distracted me from it."

Warren said he has sold much of the equipment at the Bennington location to an incoming tenant he declined to name. The new tenant already owns a restaurant in town, Warren said, and will be opening a new restaurant similar to Cilantro in the South Street space without closing the other, existing business.

John Shannahan, executive director of the Better Bennington Corp., expressed surprise at Cilantro's sudden closure but said the space's rapid turnover is "phenomenal news," touting it as a sign of the "strength of what everybody believes is happening in town."

Contact Luke Nathan at lnathan@benningtonbanner.com.

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