The first thing I read this morning in my FB feed was the announcement below from Cafe Lucia of its closing.
On my way home today, I stopped at the restaurant to see if any other info might be available. Sadly, it was dark tonight. The closure was immediate. The bulletin board along the sidewalk had this letter posted and "Thank You for the Memories".
I'd like to thank the restaurant's team for its support of many local charities. The fundraiser in November to benefit wildfire victims was marvelous --- some pictures included here. My friends and I promised we'd be back soon and failed to do so. When a business is generous in that way, it did not occur to me that things could be so dire. The moral of the story is that we need to step up to support our favorites before they disappear.
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"All good things come to an end.
When we opened Café Lucia in 2012, we were thrilled by how well we were received in Healdsburg. Portuguese cuisine and wines were gaining traction, and Manuel’s flagship, LaSalette Restaurant, was securely in its 14th year of business in Sonoma Valley.
But in 2016, everything changed for Café Lucia, seemingly overnight. The one-two punch of ongoing work on a traffic roundabout a half-block from our restaurant, and construction of a hotel and underground parking lot next door to us, limited diners’ access to and awareness of Café Lucia. We will never understand why the City of Healdsburg approved these projects for the same time period (as well as other construction work on the 200 block of Healdsburg Avenue), yet we pressed on despite major delays on the roundabout and hotel.
Our frequent guests encouraged us along the way and we were hopeful. But like many businesses in Sonoma County, we also lost business in the aftermath of the fall 2017 wildfires. We pushed through another winter, despite the increasingly difficult economic climate statewide, including increased minimum wages and taxes, and lack of affordable housing for staff at our small, family-owned business. As we face a third season operating in a construction zone, we find ourselves without the financial or emotional reserves to continue.
We are honored to have had the opportunity to celebrate our family’s culture and heritage in this special place, something we had hoped to do for years to come. We will always be proud of the work we did at Café Lucia, and the wonderful memories we have and lifelong friendships we made through the restaurant. We are especially saddened to say goodbye to the awesome Café Lucia team, some of whose members have been with us since the early days.
We are extremely grateful to the Deas family for believing in our concept and being our biggest supporters. We couldn’t have asked for a better landlord partner. We also appreciate our banking partner, Summit State Bank. Lastly, we couldn’t have made it this far had it not been for our dining guests, especially our regulars. It was our honor and pleasure to serve you.
Manuel will continue nourishing guests with delicious Portuguese cuisine at LaSalette Restaurant in Sonoma. Please visit soon ... you might see some familiar Café Lucia faces there.
Thank you to all who supported us in our Café Lucia journey. It was a ride!
Onward and upward,
Lucia Azevedo Fincher & Manuel Azevedo"