Ernesto’s 1521 Closing and James’ Burkes Are Interested

Every year, Ernesto Salandria closes his cozy Spruce Street Italian eatery for a month to take his 80-year old mom/pastry chef and 84-year old aunt/bookkeeper back to the old country. But this year, he won’t be reopening.

“Ernesto’s is finished,” declared the affable Salandria this afternoon as he prepared for evening dinner service. After nineteen years, he’s decided that it’s time to call it quits, possibly as soon as next weekend. “Basically, my crowd is just the orchestra crowd,” he explained. “So people come in off Spruce Street and the youngest person inside is 55, well, it’s hard to get the young people in here.”

The asking price is $125,000 for the business and liquor license, plus about $6,500 in monthly rent for the 80-seat restaurant and bar. (Salandria’s mother owns the building). James’ Jim Burke was recently seen checking out the space, weeks after closing his (generally) revered 8th Street bistro, and Salandria confirmed that some other big names have been through, though he’s not naming them.

As for the 52-year old Salandria, his immediate plans include a retirement, at least temporarily. “I love to travel,” he said. “And I am fortunate to have put enough away to tread water for a while.”

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  • M

    Sad to see it go, I’m sure they were very nice people, never had a chance to eat there. But, if the Burke’s turn up there, I’d be a very happy man.

  • mitchy the kid

    jim and kristina would absolutely dominate in that location….keeeping my fingers crossed!

  • Jackie Spina

    So sorry to hear you closed, my friend, Mae and I always enjoyed coming and only wished we has know so we could have came one more time. Best of luck to you and enjoy all you’re traveling.

    Best regards,
    Jackie Spina

  • Jean Craig

    Wow. It’s the end of an era for me. Back in the day when Ernesto’s served lunch friends and I (yes, we were Orchestra attendees) came frequently. We always felt at home and enjoyed our meals so much. Thanks for a lot of pleasant memories. I send greetings to Immie.
    Enjoy your travels, Ernesto, and my best regards.

  • Django Fett

    I have extremely fond memories of 1521. The future-Mrs. Fett and I had a very memorable meal there in 1999 that we still talk about to this day. Good luck, Ernesto.

  • Harold & Judy Einhorn

    We are part of the “orchestra” group and must say we enjoyed Ernesto’s before the Friday afternoon concerts God foo, pleasant staff. We will miss you
    Ernesto enjoy your retirement

  • Jean Hunsicker

    We tried to make reservations for dinner before the Orchestra Concert this week and knew something had happened when we didn’t receive a call back from you. I checked the internet this morning and found out you had closed.
    We have enjoyed many wonderful dinners with you over the years and some in your beautiful wisteria hanging garden too…and often brought friends to your special place.
    We will miss you and your lovely restaurant.
    Wishing you the best and enjoy your travels.
    Jeanne and Bob from Bethlehem, Pa.