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.