After three years, Madison Park's Café Parco has shuttered. Longtime restaurateur Karen Binder owned a lively French-themed cafe overlooking the park at the Lake Washington end of E. Madison for a couple of decades before turning the cute bungalow over to Celinda Norton in 2011, who launched Parco. Originally from Longview, Wash., Norton had been running 94 Stewart in the Pike Place Market.
Assisted by her son Nic, Norton tried valiantly to build a clientele of regulars for her country-Italian menu. For three years, she cooked every meal herself, seven days a week, but nothing quite clicked. Yesterday Norton threw in the towel and sent an email to her patrons: "The time has come to bid you a farewell."
The business continues to be "economically challenged," Norton put it. "It is time to seek other avenues to satisfy my need to create great food." Her best clients were often part of Madison Park's snowbird demographic, not full-time residents of the neighborhood.
Binder is still the building's landlord, and there's no word yet on her plans for the property. The neighborhood's other fine-dining restaurant, Madison Park Conservatory, shuttered in February, but a new liquor license for the space was issued back in July to Maria and Ricky Eng. No word on what they intend to call the restaurant, or when it will open.
"It is now time to redefine success," says Chef Celinda Norton. "Tomorrow is another day. I have owned and operated eight restaurants in my 35 year career. I'm certain I won't be able to stay away."
· Cafe Parco [Official Site]