UPDATE 4:54 PM:
Had a chance to talk with Ericka Burke this afternoon. She confirmed that she did indeed have a financial stake in Oddfellows but, like Derschang, wouldn’t confirm details of the agreement that was reached for her departure though she did add the two didn’t need lawyers to figure out the deal.
“It was a good experience,” Burke said. “I’m a creative chef. I had a hard time leaving my vision in other people’s hands. I was needed back at Volunteer Park. But it was a completely positive, amicable decision.”
Still talking to various parties about Ericka Burke’s decision to leave Oddfellows — primary on the list being Burke herself. But I was able to reach Linda Derschang this morning and ask her more about Burke’s exit and the implications for the Oddfellows business.
“A lot of people are looking for some big drama, ‘what happened!??,'” Derschang said. “Sometimes things happen in business that really aren’t awful. I’m so glad that it wasn’t an awful thing.”
What the change means for Oddfellows as a business isn’t entirely clear. Derschang would tell me that Burke was a partner in the Very Odd Fellows LLC running the cafe but it was not a 50/50 split. “It wasn’t an equal situation,” Derschang said. “It was really — from a business standpoint — a very small amount.”
Derschang would not say what financial arrangements were part of Burke’s exit. “That’s more than I want to go into. I just want to be protective of us and our friendship. And my business.”
Derschang said the decision came down to time. “[Burke] had her hands full with Volunteer Park Cafe. It’s a really amazing place but it’s more mom and pop. Oddfellows is really busy and we’re open all day and all night. It’s so much different.”
“Neither one of knew that what we were planning was too much. It’s a blessing that Oddfellows is so busy but it was a little more than anyone expected.”
Derschang wanted it made clear that she and Burke remain friends and the split was amicable. “My daughter still works for her at Volunteer Park Cafe. This was a friendly decision.”
I also asked her about what she’s looking forward to following the changes — and, importantly, what she thinks of her new neighbor across the street.
“I’m thrilled with the way the neighborhood has embraced us. i’m looking forward to the spring and summer and drinks on our patio,” Derschang said. But she has no plans for a joint venture with Rancho Bravo just yet. “I have to go over there and try it out. I’m so excited they opened. It was rumored that it was going to be a Jack in the Box. This is so much better. We’ll let them do the tacos.”