Sad day, Gnocchi Bar fans: chef/owner Lisa Nakamura has just announced via newsletter that she has decided not to renew the lease for her Capitol Hill restaurant and will be closing up shop after service on November 20.
In the statement, Nakamura thanks her patrons for their support and the opportunities to connect face-to-face. "I am proud and honored that so many of you have come in, dined with us, patronized our little shop, purchased our gnocchi in grocery stores and have made yourselves part of our family. You helped make one woman's vision into a reality, and for that, thank you so very much," she says.
There's a shard of good news in the development: Nakamura says she will continue to craft gnocchi for local grocery stores, which sell her potato dumplings in the freezer section. In fact, the restaurant's closure will allow her to dedicate more time to making wholesale gnocchi, which currently retails at all Metropolitan Markets, all PCC locations, and more.
Nakamura tells Eater she will continue to sell gnocchi in stores and online indefinitely, and perhaps even expand into other states. She'll also enjoy spending more time with her husband and on another interest, writing.
"I'm sad, of course, because I love restaurants," Nakamura wrote to Eater. "But I'm also happy because I was able to launch our retail line, which is ultimately what I'd like to do. It's been a real joy, seeing regulars, meeting adorable pooches, and hopeful being a positive part of this community. I look at it this way (being the botanist nerd that I am): when you have a fruit tree, sometimes you need to prune it to make it more fruitful. And that's what I'm doing."
Nakamura opened Gnocchi Bar last March after securing contributions through crowdfunding. She proudly added the names of her supporters to a "Wall of Fame" in the dining room. Nakamura previously owned and operated Allium, a hyper-local restaurant on Orcas Island.