First, the bad news: Macellaio, the salumi-focused restaurant from the founders of Lucia that opened in Bishop Arts in 2018, is closing for good on December 31. But here’s the good news: Lucia will be moving into the Macellaio space, at 287 North Bishop Avenue, meaning more room for diners to enjoy the pasta, cheese boards and wine pairings that have made Lucia one of Dallas’s most beloved restaurants.
Owners Jennifer and David Uygur made the announcement on December 28 with a Facebook post and email, writing, “This is not a story about endings. It’s also about new beginnings.”
It’s been a hard year for the Uygers. Both Lucia and Macellaio, Eater’s 2018 Restaurant of the Year, have been closed for indoor dining since March, when the coronavirus pandemic began. The restaurants were eking by on gift cards and takeout until late September, when the Uygers opened up outdoor seating at Macellaio for their “pasta on the patio” dinners. Then, in October, their business partner Justin Holt announced he was permanently closing his restaurant Salaryman to undergo aggressive treatment for leukemia.
“Justin responding to treatment and getting out of the hospital has been the best news we’ve gotten all year,” the statement read. But “with drastically diminished sales and no Salaryman to help share expenses, there simply isn’t a path forward for Macellaio.”
The Uygers wrote that the timing of the closure was “bittersweet serendipity” — their lease at Macellaio still has several years left on it, while the lease at Lucia, at 408 West Eighth Street, expires at the end of 2020. After much discussion, the Uygers have opted to move Lucia into the Macellaio space.
The means the previously tiny restaurant — Lucia had just 14 tables and was notoriously hard to book — will now have an expanded dining room, and more importantly, a heated patio. Plus, it’ll allow the Uygers to remain in Bishop Arts, the neighborhood where Lucia first opened a decade ago.
In January, they’ll begin renovations on the Salaryman space next to Macellaio to convert it into a Lucia To Go spot. The Uygers said they plan to launch to go as soon as it’s possible. Then, in the spring, Lucia will reopen in the Macellaio spot. An exact opening date has yet to be announced.
“COVID-19 has forced so many small restaurants out of business,” the Uygers wrote. “And every week this pandemic rages, more will close. If you love a restaurant, order to go from them regularly. Tip generously. And when possible, please order your meal directly from the restaurant and pick it up yourself rather than having a third party pick it up for you.
“But we’re so grateful that we have a way to build a future for Lucia. Even if it’s somewhere else.”
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