Lucia, the Italian pearl of the Bishop Arts District, is closing. But a relocation is planned. Here’s where.
Lucia, the charming Italianesque restaurant in Dallas’ Bishop Arts District, couldn’t survive Covid. Neither could its sister restaurants, Macellaio and Salaryman. But owners David and Jennifer Uygur are aren’t giving up. They’ll combine the three restos into a reincarnated Lucia. Here’s Jennifer’s post today on Facebook. I’m sharing their news because here because I’m rooting for them. I hope you will, too.
Thank you so much for all your support in this challenging year!
March 14th was our last day of normal dine-in service at Lucia’s cozy little dining room on West Eighth Street.
December 31st will be our last day of any kind of service there.
But this is not a story all about endings.
It’s also about a new beginning.
We just have to talk about the endings first.
We’ve spent the last nine months trying to figure out how to sustain our three restaurants—Lucia, Macellaio and Salaryman—while keeping our staff and guests safe. For us, that has meant keeping our dining rooms closed for dine-in and offering only To Go options.
You’ve all been so kind. You picked up To Go food. You bought gift certificates. You asked how we were doing. You asked if we could survive on offering To Go only.
To which we answered brightly:
“We’re still here!”
All the while we thought to ourselves:
“How long can we keep this up?”
Turns out we could keep it up about 9 months.
Keeping our dining rooms closed as long as we have seems to have succeeded in keeping our team Covid-19 free so far.
But nothing could protect our friend and Salaryman business partner, Justin Holt, from a devastating cancer diagnosis in October. There’s no Salaryman without him. The restaurant closed permanently that same month. Justin responding to treatment and getting out of the hospital has been the best news we’ve gotten all year.
Then there’s Macellaio.
During the pandemic, we’ve struggled to find the right niche for Lucia’s casual sister restaurant. Despite multiple pivots, sales continued to drop. With drastically diminished sales and no Salaryman to help share expenses, there simply isn’t a path forward for Macellaio. So, David and I decided to close it permanently.
Which was a terrifying decision to make, since there are multiple years remaining on the lease at Macellaio’s space at 287 N. Bishop Ave.
This is where bittersweet serendipity steps in.
The lease at Lucia’s West Eighth Street location expires at the end of this year. And after many heart-wrenching discussions, David and I decided not to renew it.
There are simply too many unknowns in the world of Covid-19 for us to renew a lease for an 1100 square foot space with no patio. (How long will it be before YOU will feel comfortable eating inside a tiny dining room, sitting mere inches away from someone you don’t know?)
So, in the new year—after ten years and who-knows how-many plates of pasta—we’ll move Lucia into Macellaio’s former space at the corner of N. Bishop and Melba. This is our best chance to not just survive, but thrive in the coming years.
This move means we’ll still be able to honor our lease commitments to our landlord at Macellaio’s old space.
It means we can still work in the neighborhood we love.
It means we’ll have a large, covered patio with propane heaters and fans where we can seat guests at a safe distance from each other.
It means we’ll have a larger dining room with enough room to both socially distance our tables and be able to feed enough guests to allow us to pay our staff and our bills.
It means we have hope for the first time in months.
In January, we’ll start renovating the space at 287 N. Bishop Ave. Salaryman’s former space will become the permanent Lucia To Go spot. We’ll re-launch our To Go program in its new home as soon as we can. Then in the Spring, Lucia the restaurant will re-open in Macellaio’s former space with carefully distanced, full-service dining both inside and outside.
Lucia, in its new space, will look different than it did. But so many other things in our lives look different than they did last year, don’t they? We hope that you—like us—will just be glad that there still will BE a Lucia to enjoy in the new year.
Despite everything, David and I know that we’re luckier than many people in this awful year. We’re healthy. And thanks to the flexibility of landlords and bankers, the hard work of our team and the generosity of people like you, we’ve managed to keep one of our restaurants open. We still have a livelihood. Covid-19 has forced so many small restaurants out of business. And every week this pandemic rages, more will close. If you love a restaurant, order To Go from them regularly. Tip generously. And when possible, please order your meal directly from the restaurant and pick it up yourself rather than having a third party pick it up for you.
We’re sad to leave our beloved little spot in the Bishop Arts Building. We’ll miss our neighbors at Dude, Sweet Chocolate. We’ll miss our thoughtful landlord who let our dog, Lucy, hang out in his office when we first opened. We’ll miss our tiny dining room, with its peacock-colored banquettes, shiplap walls and mismatched chairs. There’s so much history here. But we’re so grateful that we have a way to build a future for Lucia. Even if it’s somewhere else.
We look forward to seeing you in the new year.
May it be better one for all of us!
–Jennifer and David Uygur