South End restaurant Merrill & Co. — a sibling of jm Curley, Bin 26, Lala Rokh, and the newly opened Sunny Boy — will close after service tonight, as previously reported. But the closure also marks the start of a competition for a new owner to take over the space. "Winner takes all," states the competition website. "We believe everyone should have a chance to pursue their dream. If you think you can take over a restaurant and run it successfully, prove it to us and we'll let you do just that." Contacted after news of the closure and contest first came out earlier this week, owner Babak Bina declined to provide further details, so it's a bit unclear what exactly the prize entails and whether Bina's hospitality group will remain involved with the space once a winner is chosen.
Applications will be accepted beginning on July 1, according to the website, and it appears that the rules will slowly trickle out between now and then. A new Twitter account, @wwtbro, shared the first rule a few days ago: "Contestants will have to send in a one-minute video explaining why they should be the next restaurant owner." Ultimately, the five finalists will host a series of pop-up dinners for a judging panel.
Pay your respects to Merrill & Co. tonight, and then get your video camera ready if you want to open a restaurant.