Good Food: Arrivederci, Sayonara, Cheerio!

Woke up, fell out of bed…

I heard the news today, oh boy. About some unlucky restaurants who couldn’t make the grade. And though the news was rather sad. Well, I just had to sigh, I saw the signs.

Signs of these Economic Times

Aun Deli Cafe: Just Closed.

Siena Ristorante: Closed on January 18th.

My experiences with the above says Pasadena is losing quality food. While with some other places I have no idea how they continue to live on!

With Aun, it was open two years. Owner/chef, Yuki, told me two months ago she was gonna close. Why? Spouse getting a new job out of the country. And, this tough economy. This was not another Japanese sushi or tempura house. Quality ingredients & preparation in a small, casual hole in the wall next door to the Ice House Comedy House. Aun Deli received positive reviews in blog & paper.

Siena was open less than a year. Right next door to Bren Art Wine Bar & Restaurant. Although it was already one of the very best Italian in Pasadena, it didn’t appear very good in drawing in many customers, and “the current economic climate,” was the final blow. Siena wasn’t just another red saucy Italian joint. I was pleasantly suprised when I first ate at Siena, and each time following. Yet, while walking in Old Pasadena on the 21st I seem to recall seeing the chef and his restaurant still open on the 21st?!

Add these to my posts last year on restaurant closings, Wheatberry and Metropolitan Coffee & Tea. They turned off their lights last May and remain dark & vacant today. There are other biz closings you can find around town or any town.

I read the news today, oh boy. Four thousand closing business signs on doors. And, though the signs were rather large, they had to count them all. Now they know how many lives it takes to fill the unemployment halls.

Restaurants are especially susceptible to closings. Personal & finicky tastes of customers & high competition for a start. From a distance it looks like an appealing business to get into. Certainly to eat in. But to run, & run profitably is a…well, I don’t know how to put it. Let’s just say even with my experience I don’t ever want to own & manage a restaurant. And, if I we’re also the chef-owner – forget it!

I heard the news today, oh girl. Nine point three percent unemployment rate in the state. Oh, and L.A. County at Ten percent. And, though the rates will reach greater heights, this doggy tail is already down.

Life is a series of hello’s and goodbyes…



12 responses to “Good Food: Arrivederci, Sayonara, Cheerio!

  1. It’s hard for restaurants to make it even in good times, but you’re right, C.O., we have less to spend these days. I’d love to get out there and spend money as Ann says. But in an economy where my house is supposedly worth less, my county raised my property taxes this year. Isn’t that interesting?

  2. PA, oh, was that you on AH’s “Weather & quake report” post on the 23rd?!!

    nTash: Americans certainly aren’t traveling overseas as much due to the weak dollar, among some reasons. I can’t believe you Miss Wheatberry. They’re croissants were nothing special to me. When I have Paris-trained Sumi Chang at Euro Pane Bakery around the corner with some of the very best croissants outside of France, other croissants are a letdown.
    MF & PIO: we have less to spend. We’re holding less spending power mostly due to job losses, poor financial decisions, debt, and curtailed credit-card & home equity availability. Some of us have the main priority to “spend” just to keep a roof over our heads before any thought of optional consumables. We’re in all over our heads in debt from we the people down to all forms of government. I believe it’s back to the fundamentals.

  3. PS – would you believe it that I miss Wheatberry – the same one. A friend I work with lives up that way and used to bring me the best croissants and other goodies from there.

  4. I heard a segment on NPR today that high end spas are doing good business because people are not traveling on vacation but still want a lower cost of enjoyment. I’d pick travel anyday – as long as there is a clean room to stay in.
    Palos Verdes is really tough for restaurants. At my book club we listed so many that have come and gone, more recently a Marie Callendar’s at the mall that was in business for 23 or maybe even more years.

  5. AH is right. People are holding on to their money. I heard on Marketplace that Netflix profits are way up because people are downshifting from nights at the movies to nights on the couch watching movies.

  6. Thank you for posting this. It is very sad news to learn that neighborhood restaurants that serves quality food are shutting down. I hope I can get to Aun before it closes.

  7. These are definitely hard times. The restaurants with sustaining power will be the ones serving the highest quality fare and have the savings to withstand this economic down turn.

    Although I have to say that I was glad to see Wheatberry close. They started out with the most delicious pastries, but the service and lack of customer focus was their down fall.