Say it ain't so, Susan.
After eight years at Orange Table, the fresh-food, made-to-order eatery tucked in the Scottsdale Civic Center Plaza, owner Susan Speidel is calling it quits and selling the business. And as with most labors of love, the decision wasn't easy.
"The economy really hurt the business," Speidel told me. "We're a neighborhood spot, and we rely on the locals. With layoffs from the hospital, the Chamber of Commerce moving, and less festivals in the park, I just couldn't make it work anymore."
Homing in on the spirit of neighborhood and community, Speidel made sure of two things before she sold the business. And neither one of them had to do with her.
"I wanted to make sure my employees still had jobs," Speidel said, "and that the property manager didn't end up with an empty space."
Done and done. Speidel told me that she doesn't know a lot about the new owners of Orange Table (her property manager helped find them for her), but her understanding is that they are both former restaurant managers and that one is local and one is from Chicago.
"I hope they keep the menu intact. They have all the recipes," Speidel said. "And I hope they keep the chimichurri corned beef hash. It's been quite a hit with the customers."
How does Speidel feel about leaving, and what will she do with her new-found free time?
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"There's a lot of emotion. I'm happy and hopeful the new owners can take Orange Table to a better place, but at the same time, I'm angry I couldn't have done more."
At the moment, Speidel doesn't have a "next move," but her staff is making sure her last one at Orange Table is a special, after-hours send-off party with staff and guests on Friday, June 17 (details to come). The new ownership of Orange Table officially begins on Monday, June 20.
Until then, friends and well-wishers can say goodbye to Susan by visiting the Orange Table and loading up on that crazy-good chimmichurri corned beef hash.