I wondered why when I walked by Sostanza on a sunny, warm evening earlier this week there was no one on the upper deck having dinner and enjoying the great Italian food and wonderful view. The answer was provided by Seattle Times’ excellent restaurant reviewer, Nancy Leson, on her blog yesterday: Sostanza closed on Monday.
It’s been no secret to many frequenters of this Madison Park mainstay that Chef/Owner Lorenzo Cianciusi has wanted out. The trattoria has been not-so-quietly for sale for several years. Popular and well-regarded for its food and ambiance, Sostanza was definitely a destination restaurant (meaning that people would drive here from other neighborhoods just to have the Sostanza dining experience). Nevertheless, it’s been obvious for some time that Sostanza’s business was hurt by the economic downturn, and perhaps by changing tastes as well. It was also pretty clear that Cianciusi was, after over 14 years running the show, tired of doing so. Sostanza will be missed.
But not to worry. This is definitely not another Constance Gillespie story. Sostanza’s space, according Seattle Magazine, apparently will be filled by a new eatery owned and operated by the former chef of Eastlake restaurant Sitka & Spruce, Cormac Mahoney, and his partner Bryan Jarr. Also associated with the new endeavor, to be called the Madison Park Conservatory, will be former Top Chef contestant Zoi Antonitsas. My wife, Margo Spellman, who is a consultant to restaurateurs and a foodie who knows about this stuff, tells me that “this is a potential culinary coup for the neighborhood,” given the team that’s involved.
It looks like we can look forward to something entirely new and exciting at the end of Madison Street by the early fall.