Stone Balloon closes its doors

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In a blow to Newark’s Main Street, the Stone Balloon has closed its doors.

In a release, owner High 5 Hospitality stated it made the “extremely difficult decision” not to renew the lease for the restaurant bar on the street level of the Washington House condominiums.

No specific reasons were cited for the closing.

Employees will be offered positions at other High 5 restaurants, including Buffalo Wild Wings, breakfast-brunch spot Eggspectation, Limestone BBQ and Bourbon, and several Jersey Mike’s locations. High 5, based in Stanton, has locations in both Maryland.

Buffalo Wild Wings recently opened a location in Milford and took note of the upcoming opening of a Jersey Mike’s on Kirkwood Highway east of Newark. High 5 continues to operate a Buffalo Wild Wing on South Main Street in Newark. Also in the works is a BWW GO takeout concept in the Baltimore area.

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The High 5 CEO held out at least some hope that the Stone Balloon could reemerge in some form. “We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our loyal Stone Balloon guests for their patronage throughout the years. As we close this chapter for the Stone Balloon, we aren’t sure what the future holds, but there is always a possibility that the Stone Balloon may rise again in the future,” Bobby Pancake stated in the release.

Some Stone Balloon merchandise will be available at Limestone BBQ and Bourbon off Kirkwood Highway and Limestone Road.

The Stone Balloon, named after a live music venue once located at the site, struggled under previous owners as a part of a downstate brewing company and a wine-focused establishment.

The Stone Balloon, named after a live music venue once located at the site, struggled under previous owners as a part of a downstate brewing company and a wine-focused establishment.

The golden era for the Stone Balloon came under chef Robby Jester, who became nationally known for winning a matchup with celebrity chef Bobby Flay. Jester later moved on to other ventures.

Main Street restaurants also face challenges that include high rents, high food costs, low margins and attracting non-student residents to an area with perceived parking issues (city officials and some residents deny those claims). College towns also face the challenge of slow summers.

High 5 got its start as a Buffalo Wild Wings location in Bear and became an award-winning franchisee for the company, with the Small Business Administration giving it the top Delaware state award.

High 5 went on to add BWW’s in all three of the state’s counties as well as in northeastern Maryland.

Some Stone Balloon merchandise will be available at Limestone BBQ and Bourbon off Kirkwood Highway and Limestone Road.

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