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Longtime Healdsburg Restaurant Closes, Blaming Years of Construction Nightmares

Cafe Lucia is the latest in a spate of restaurant closures in Sonoma County.

Cafe Lucia is the latest in a spate of restaurant closures in Sonoma County. The 7-year-old cafe owned by Chef Manuel Azevedo and Lucia Azevedo Fincher announced it was throwing in the towel in an email that described a series of construction issues in Healdsburg as a significant reason for depressed business over the last two years.

“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,” said the owners.

The restaurant also suffered a major business downturn, like many, after the 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,” they said, adding, “…as we face a third season operating in a construction zone, we find ourselves without the financial or emotional reserves to continue.”

The sentiment echoes what many restaurateurs in the county say are ongoing issues with a lack of affordable housing, construction issues and a slow-to-improve economy after the fires.

The Portuguese-inspired restaurant was one of three restaurants owned by the family, including LaSalette and Tasca Tasca tapas bar in the town of Sonoma.

Other recent closures in Sonoma County include Sebastopol’s Vignette, Recherche du Plaisir sweet shop and Rosso Pizzeria and Mozzarella Bar in Petaluma. 

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18 thoughts on “Longtime Healdsburg Restaurant Closes, Blaming Years of Construction Nightmares

  1. Very sorry to see them close. The inundation of construction certainly hurt. The outrageous operating costs for restaurants at least partially due to the exorbitant rents in Healdsburg is also not helping . Many Healdsburg restaurants serve smaller portions at higher prices as well as raise the price of drinks to try and offset the greed of property owners . That in turn keeps many locals away and forces businesses into relying on frequently obnoxious tourists who generally care less about the fate of local businesses. Combining that with a dwindling local workforce also due to high rents will likely result in future closures. There is essentially nothing left in town that was here 15 -20 years ago so the character of the town that brought us here is for the most part long gone. Not a huge surprise as we have seen towns become virus like investor trends elsewhere that eventually run their popularity course and I see no read to believe HBurg will be any different. I guess some call it progress.

  2. Very saddened to hear of this closure, as I have loved Café Lucia. This, Wildflower, C.Donatiello, Sonoma Cider, Topel, Kitchen 337…. what next?

  3. Ah, we are so saddened to learn that Cafe Lucia is closing. It was one of the few special restaurants in Healdsburg serving really yummy food in a great atmosphere. Yes, the roundabout is taking way too long – not sure why that is – and I agree with the post that the city should NOT have allowed the new hotel construction to be going on with the roundabout at the same time. When is the roundabout going to be finished? Cafe Lucia – we will miss you greatly. Hope maybe you can find another location in Healdsburg.

  4. I feel sorry for any business person losing their business and personal investments. But I have to agree with Mark. This once fantastic town has become a bedroom weekend destination for the wallets, and the prices reflect it. The Bay Area, Jag. MB and BMW driving, dot-com warriors could care less about Healdsburg…until their next weekend trampling of the town. Mark’s description of these 48 hour specials is so correct. I’ve noticed them in the tasting rooms giggling, bursting out loud in laughter and caring less about what they’re tasting or about the presentation respectively given to them by the server. I believe we’ve all seen the degrading of Barrel Tasting Weekend to buses of millennial’s out for a cheap drunk, not purchasing any futures or even a bottle. Time for a change…for the better I hope.

  5. So bummed. Heard another disturbing rumor today that Carmen’s Burger Bar in Town & Country closing this month. Hear anything on your end?

    1. HEALDSBURG IN THE FORTIES AND 50’S THE BEST OF TIMES. VACUDRY..LONNIES..ALL GONE. THROUGE TOWN MANY TIMES HAULING APPLES TO GRATON. OUT VINE HILL ROAD,, OCONNEL BROTHERS AND MORE SAD

  6. Lmao….no one cared when my people got kicked out of March Ave, no one cared when people from New York came and bought out the housing, and no no one cares about your privliged restaurant….welcome.to being a minority ?

    1. I gotta say, as a lifetime Sonoma County resident who spent a lot of his childhood in Healdsburg, it’s hard for me to shed any tears about the plight of these businesses too. I visited for the first time in years a couple months ago and just felt sick due to the lack of authentic culture or anything else for that matter. It’s a soulless pit of boutique-everything shops and “bistros” and people with their noses in the air and a sweater round their shoulders walking the plaza half drunk and arrogant. I miss the Salami Tree Deli, Lonnie’s and other places that gave the old Healdsburg an actual personality.

    2. Dang, straight up dropped Salami Tree on here! I miss 40 Carrots for that matter. Grew up in the H in the 80s and 90s. I loved the town and can’t stand going anymore. It’s nothing like it used to be. No small town charm. It’s no wonder businesses close. Trying to act big city with their prices, but the locals can’t afford it.

  7. Heather–
    What is going on with these closings? I can understand the unfortunate logistical challenges of Cafe Lucia (see Singletree Cafe for another example), but how about the other three places mentioned in the article. Fires, wages, staffing, or something else? Is this a trend?

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