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.”