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What killed Shimo?

Healdsburg restaurant closes

Chef Douglas Keane has confirmed that Shimo is, in fact, closed.

In an early morning phone call, Keane waxed philosophic about the shutter, saying that his passion for authentic Japanese cuisine may not have translated well in Healdsburg, and ultimately, the numbers just didn’t work out.

After opening as a high-end steakhouse — something that ultimately proved unsustainable for everyday customers — Keane tried switch up the concept by doing $7-$10 ramen bowls, bar bites and Sunday prime rib specials to bring in more crowds. Most recently Ken Tominaga of Hana Japanese was a weekly sushi-making guest.

But despite some last ditch efforts, Keane decided to throw in the towel mid-November — in part so he could place some of the remaining staff at his other restaurants and afford to give a small severance to those he couldn’t. “If we waited until January there wasn’t much I could have done for them,” he said. A broken refrigerator sealed the deal early this week.

Keane plans to hold onto the space for now, seeking a possible buyer or testing a new restaurant concept with broader popular appeal (we’re voting for a Diavola-style offshoot). Meanwhile, he’ll continue holding down the fort at Cyrus and HBG.

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