The landscape of N. Walnut St. is changing as Split Rail closes for good.

This week a sign appeared on the door reading, “Closed until further notice.” But as it turns out, that may have been denial speaking. 

“Oh yes, we are closed for good,” General Manager Lea Fredrichs confirmed on Friday via Instagram.

In late August the N. Walnut St. restaurant was forced to close after the Chester County Health Department discovered several health violations and a cockroach infestation at the property. The team buckled down, cleaned up the space, and worked with neighbors to find a solution for bugs coming from outside the building, but in the end, the closure and subsequent reopening were just too much. Investors walked away as the restaurant continued to lose money after resuming business. 

“I want to thank our customers and the community for their support these past eight years,” said Lea. “I’ve been in restaurants since I was 15. 33 years. Split Rail has had my favorite customers and employees by far. It’s just been a lovely experience, and even knowing how difficult this ending has been, I would do it all again in a heartbeat.”

Several tributes came out since news of the closure spread.

“SRT embodied the soul of West Chester in many respects,” Drunks of West Chester wrote on their Instagram page. “A diverse beer list, perfectly crafted cocktails and a tasty selection of bites. Split Rail was a home for us townies, a safe space from the college bar chaos, a cool place. Perfect for a happy hour trip with colleagues, a late night of power drinking with friends, or a great first (or last) date spot.”

The end may not have been surprising but it is still sad. Goodbye, Split Rail. You will be missed.

Originally published, Oct. 6, 2023

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