Lucia’s Restaurant, an Uptown dining landmark, to close – Star Tribune

Truly, it’s the end of an era.

Lucia’s Restaurant, a pioneer in the farm-to-table movement and a much-admired fixture in the Twin Cities dining scene, is closing after a distinguished 32-year run.

“With the loss of the parking lot last year, the changing restaurant environment of Uptown, challenges to the restaurant industry as a whole and the impending Hennepin Avenue construction ahead, the current space has become nonviable for Lucia’s,” co-owner Jason Jenny said. “Our lease is up for renewal in the next few months and we cannot find common agreement with the landlord. We have therefore made the difficult decision to close the restaurant.”

Parking — or the lack thereof — proved to be a particularly thorny issue. In April 2016, the restaurant lost its conveniently located parking lot — an invaluable asset for crowded, busy Uptown — and the effect was catastrophic.

“Sales dropped by 50 percent,” Jenny said. “Sales had remained very consistent up to that point. The drop was not instantaneous, but transpired over the next six months.”

The lot, which the restaurant leased, is now the site of a six-story condominium project.

Lucia Watson opened her restaurant, Lucia’s, on Feb. 14, 1985. Watson was nominated three times for the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef, Midwest award. Lucia’s Wine Bar, opened in 1993, was the first of its kind in Minneapolis.

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