What can you do to alleviate that little stab in the heart that you feel whenever you hear that a restaurant has shut down? The good news that flashes like distant lightning doesn't do enough to offset the rheumatic twinges. The joy is tempered by the dull thuds of a door clicking shut one last time, its deadbolt turned, the keys handed back to the landlord.
The last couple of weeks have been particularly grim.
Not every place will be missed, mind you. Bruno's, for example, on Third Avenue. Regular winner of the "worst pizza" competitions, it's no great culinary loss. And the owner, Bruno Mazzarella, is retiring after 40 years. Still.
Brad's Swingside Café led the way, back in June, after 23 years under the same owner. The Fremont Avenue space was just too valuable; the café will be replaced by apartments. Little known fact about the Swingside: owner Brad Interra is legally blind but isn't allowed to wear his thick glasses in the kitchen because (says the Health Department) they would get steamed up.
Even longer-tenured was Catfish Corner, on MLK in the Central District, which called it quits last month after 30 years.
The Hurricane Café (formerly the Dog House) has lost its lease. The low-slung, freestanding building (with a parking lot) in the Denny Triangle is more attractive to the landlord as anything but a 24-hour diner.
Erotic Bakery, in Wallingford, says it will bake its last tittie cupcake, penis fritter, and vagina donut at the end of September. They're not made from molds, mind you, but (says owner Kimmie Barnett), "formed by hand, from memory." Reassuring clarification, that.
Already g-gone is Louie's Cuisine of China, on the 15th Avenue "freeway" at the north end of the Ballard.Bridge. No more egg rolls from Charlie Louie.
And finally, saddest of all, perhaps, the news that Celinda Norton has given up on Café Parco after three years in Madison Park. (Madison Park Conservatory, the neighborhood's other fine-dining restaurant, closed in April.) Not that Norton didn't try; she cooked every meal herself, seven days a week. Her son, Nic, was the restaurant's host and sommelier, and the clientele was loyal, just not sufficiently numerous, Madison Park being notorious for its "part-timer" population.
Norton sent out a farewell email to her followers, and to Cornichon she said, "It's now time to redefine success. Tomorrow is another day. I have owned and operated eight restaurants in my 35 year career. I'm certain I won't be able to stay away."