Monday, January 16, 2017

Eastern Market's La Rondinella to shutter

Posted By on Mon, Jan 16, 2017 at 10:19 AM

click to enlarge PHOTO BY SCOTT SPELLMAN
  • Photo by Scott Spellman
Sometimes you just don't want to believe the gossip.

After just about a year in service and several more years in the making, fine dining eatery La Rondinella will serve its last meal Saturday. The Freep confirmed that the spot, owned and operated by Dave Mancini, will instead make way for extended service for his more profitable concept next door: Supino Pizzeria.

Mancini tells the daily that when he opened the northern Italian-inspired restaurant he wanted to keep the spot approachable, "but it was really hard to turn a profit."

Indeed, it was approachable. We had heard whispers about La Rondinella's impending closure around the holiday season and stopped in one evening to see if we could confirm the chatter. Instead what we saw was what looked like a thriving business. It didn't take long after opening for the day for the place to fill up with diners eager to indulge in the popular happy hour offerings of wine, craft cocktails, and gourmet appetizers.

Despite the filled seats and favorable reviews (including from yours truly), by February, the spot is supposed to go casual to serve Supino sit-down customers, with a scaled-down bar program consisting mostly of wine, pizza and a pasta-of-the-day, and adjusted hours of operation, while the neighboring, existing pizzeria space will be used mostly for carry-out orders (which should relieve the crowds who pack into the place everyday).

The restaurant business is notoriously a rough one, with some 60 percent of dining establishments failing within its first year and almost 80 percent closing within five years, a CNBC report says.

We've witnessed a number of high profile closures over the past few months, with owners citing a variety of reasons for shuttering, including real estate demand (St. CeCe's sold late last year for more than three-quarters of $1 million to investors behind Lady of the House), trouble adjusting with current tastes (Casey's Pub), and struggle to keep costs down.

Considering the wild popularity of Supino and that it shares a kitchen (and wall) with La Rondinella, Mancini could avoid a total loss if he keeps to his plan to scale down.

If you find yourself in the area sometime through Saturday, La Rondinella is at 2453 Russell St. Supino is next door at 2457 Russell.

See also: Detroit Restaurants Openings & Closures: December 2016

See also: A night to remember

See also: 23 photos from La Rondinella


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