As exciting as 2016 has been for new restaurants, this year has been rough on long-standing places. Already, venerable institutions like Mark's American Cuisine and Sparrow Bar + Cookshop (the successor to t'afia) have closed. Recently, two more longtime Montrose establishments have shuttered.
French restaurant Au Petit Paris quietly closed in June after nine years in business. Located in a converted bungalow just off Shepherd, the restaurant was known for the artful, architectural presentation of its dishes.
"Thanks to all of you for the wonderful messages. Closing was a choice, not an obligation," chef Eric Legros wrote on Facebook. "So we do not want you to be sorry. I have yet to decide on my next step, but will let you know if I open another restaurant or take a position as an executive chef. Again, many thanks for all the well wishes and your patronage throughout the years. It was my pleasure serving all of you."
In addition to losing a destination for classic French fare, Italian restaurant Pepino's has also closed. Food writer Nick Hall spotted a for lease sign in front of the restaurant, which is located on Richmond near Mandell. Despite the prime location, the 10-plus year old restaurant mostly flew under the radar, but it did have a couple of semi-recent moments in the media spotlight.
In 2013, John Nova Lomax wrote that he had the worst dining experience of his life there: "The service was comically bad—wrong orders, eternal waits.The food was terrible once it finally arrived. I’ve never seen a group of diners come closer to a full-on customer revolt as I did that night, nor a closer true-life resemblance to the dining room in Fawlty Towers."
On the other hand, My Table recently published an ode to Pepino's by a patron who called it "the best date spot in the neighborhood." The restaurant's day-to-day reality probably lay somewhere in the middle, of course.
Second-generation restaurant spaces in desirable locations don't stay empty for long. Whatever the future holds for both spaces, here's hoping they enjoy tenures of success that are as long as their predecessors.