JACKSON TWP. Tim Staub said he had no idea when he walked into work on April 15 that Savor, the restaurant he co-owned, would close that day.
"It was a little abrupt," he said, adding, "We were struggling flat-out from day one for several reasons."
"The farm-to-table concept didn't seem to catch on," co-owner Chad Chirillo said about Savor, which opened in July 2015. "Canton's kind of a chain town, burgers and wings."
Beyond the menu, Staub said there were other issues. "I had a partnership issue with Chad, and it was more than just a disagreement," he said, declining to name specifics.
Told of this, Chirillo said, "Not on my end," and declined to comment further.
Staub and Chirillo were neighbors when they came up with the idea for Savor. "We were hanging out one night and decided it would be a cool venture to make a restaurant with the kind of organic food we eat at home with our families," Chirillo said in a 2015 interview. "We wanted to feature farm-to-table food."
Prior to opening Savor, Chirillo had restaurant experience from co-owning Mo' Joes Coffee House & Cafe in Jackson Township and owning the 7th Street Cafe inside Aultman Hospital. Staub was an operations manager with UPS, and an avid foodie.
A sleek-looking restaurant, Savor struggled to find a clientele for its clean-food concept, summarized on the restaurant's sign with the words Fresh Organic Taste. "People see that and think wheat grass smoothies and kale burgers," Staub said in a recent interview for About magazine. "What we are is American food done freshly."
A Canton native who lived for 12 years in Columbus, Staub expressed frustration with local appetites. "Canton is not ready for an organic restaurant, they're just not. Bubba's BBQ is what they want," he said. "Canton wants well-done steak, and a baked potato with their Bud Light."
In hopes of boosting business, Savor added more conventional items — strip steak, spaghetti and meatballs, Bud Light. "We had seven or eight different menus over the course of two years, but it was to appease new people, not to keep our regulars," Staub said. "It certainly wasn't what we set out to be."
The restaurant's location was another factor, Chirillo said. "I think Frank Road is kind of forgotten. We were the fourth restaurant in that little nook, close to Belden but not in Belden."
Savor survived for as long as it did due to regular customers, Staub said, "people that gave us a try, came back a second time and enjoyed what we did."
"Our core customer base was great, we had loyal customers who always came back," Chirillo said. "Those are the people we feel bad about."
Because it is closed, Savor will not be participating in Taste of the NFL at the 2018 Super Bowl. Last August, the restaurant won the local Taste of the Pro Football Hall of Fame fundraiser, which qualified it to represent the hall at the Taste event.