NEW ALBANY — Longboard's Taco & Tiki, a restaurant in downtown New Albany, has closed after a year and a half in business.

The closing of the taco restaurant, located at 302 Pearl St., opened in summer 2018, and its closing was announced this week in a video shared on the restaurant's Facebook page. Owners Ian and Nikki Hall, who run BRAND Hospitality Group, also own The Exchange and Brooklyn and The Butcher in downtown New Albany. Longboard's featured a variety of tacos, shareable plates and tiki-inspired cocktails.

"After a few tough months of deliberation, we made the decision to close the storefront last week," Ian Hall said in the video. "It was a really tough decision to make, and we know we probably broke a lot of hearts along the way, including our own. We put a lot of time and energy into creating Longboard's, and we don't want to see it go away."

The in-store traffic was not enough to sustain the restaurant operation, he said in an email. Although the brick and mortar restaurant is closing, Longboard's will continue as a catering program available for office parties, tiki parties and other events.

"As far the catering goes, that was an easy decision to make to continue offering that option," he said in an emailed response. "We have had great feedback on our catering services, and while sales were not high enough to help to sustain the operation, we definitely see an upside for that division."

He also discussed expansions at The Exchange. The restaurant, located at 118 W. Main St., recently opened a new dining room called Tavern Hall in the space previously occupied by Feast BBQ. They purchased the adjacent building at 116 W. Main St. about a year and a half ago and expanded both the restaurant's kitchen and dining space.

"The 'Tavern Hall' as it is now known, is a throwback idea to the original space," Hall said in an email. "Having operated as a tavern all the way back to the 1800's, we felt it was important to stay true to the space in look and feel."

In addition to serving as an extra dining room for customers at The Exchange, the space will also be used for private events, weddings, speciality dinners, beer tastings and other occasions, according to Hall. The room, which includes seating for 55 guests and a bar created with original materials from the building, is now available to book for private events.

"I just wanted to say thank you to the city of New Albany and all our guests for all the years of support in all our restaurants," he said in the video. "We couldn't continue to do this without you, and we look forward to an exciting 2020 here at BRAND Hospitality Group."

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