Monday, August 27, 2012 / 7:20 AM
In a note sent yesterday to those on its email list, beloved bakery/cafe La Dolce Via announced that 2012 will be its final year in business.
The contents of that email as follows:
"Dear Customers, Neighbors, and Friends:
This December 10th, we will be celebrating 10 wonderful years of operating our café. It has been a great journey, and we can’t possibly express enough how much we have enjoyed getting to know everyone and being a place for you to get to know each other. Our neighbors and loyal customers have become great friends to our family and employees.
"It is, therefore, with great regret that we announce that at the end of this year, we will be permanently closing our doors. On December 31st, we will host a special event celebrating our ten triumphant years at the corner of Arco & Taylor, and on January 1st we will close our doors following a final brunch service.
"Doing business in this neighborhood has been arduous at times, and we’ve struggled to stay above water with the economic collapse and the high cost of using the best ingredients.
However, our reason for deciding to close has only to do with the fact that our family has decided to move on to our next adventure.
"We want to encourage everyone who has come to love our café to visit us as much as possible between now and the end of the year. To make that easier, we will be extending our hours for the duration. Starting this week, the café will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the week, including Tuesdays. Our weekend hours will remain the same and we will still be closed on Mondays.
"During the next few months, we will be featuring a number of promotions designed to recapture some of the best things about La Dolce Via and give everyone a chance to relish whatever they will miss the most. Please keep an eye on your email and our Facebook page for updates.
"Again, we want to express our appreciation for all your support, for bringing your family and friends to our place, and for brightening our days for the past 10 years. We have a book in the café where we encourage everyone to write us a note and share your favorite memory of LDV. We hope that many of you will continue to consider us friends even when we are no longer filling your bellies with delicious things.
"La Dolce Via"
We don't know what the "next adventure" is just yet, but more as we learn it.
Very much tucked away in a residential pocket within the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood, La Dolce Via has, through much of its ten-year run, been a well-kept secret. Those in-the-know have enjoyed what have often been called the best scones in town; they're marvelously light, stuffed with seasonal fruit like blackberries or plum sections (at right), and made fresh every morn. Also famous (or infamous, in light of its high-carb payload), the La Doce Via take on biscuits and gravy (noted in SLM's "Best Breakfasts" cover story here): the cheese scone topped with lamb-sausage gravy and the occasional fried egg made more than a few converts. The weekend brunches, as well as sporadic farm-to-table and event dinners will surely be missed by fans of owner Marcia Sindel and staff. The cafe takes real pride in keeping ingredients as from-scratch and local as possible.
Those of a certain age may even recall the ur-version of the outfit, La Torta Vera ("the true torte"), which began as a branch of Bar Italia in 1983, and morphed into La Dolce Via by transforming the current spot from commercial pastry/bread kitchen to corner cafe.
We wish them the very best, and in the meantime, we intend to patronize them and "gather our scones while we may."
Update, 6 p.m., August 27:
“I’m pretty depressed about this and I gotta figure things out before I decide what to do next,” said La Dolce Via’s Marcia Sindel.
The owner of the beloved Forest Park Southeast bakery/café is still in a bit of shock after publicizing her decision to bring the business’ ten-year-run to a close on Jan.1, 2013, as we reported earlier today.
Sindel confirmed that financial challenges contributed to the decision, and attributes a good chunk of them to La Dolce Via’s out-of-the-way location in a residential neighborhood.
“A lot of people come every weekend for brunch, and they even call first to make sure we’re open, a lot of people get it -- but you need a ton of people to keep the place going. We’re so hidden, we need people to search us out,” she said. “The addition of the Internet has been really good, with Yelp and everything, but barely enough to carry us through the rough times. I’m still not sure how we made it this far! We have no [financial] cushion.”
“The landlord has worked with us and been very cool, but I’m getting tired of worrying about money,” she added. “A ton of places are closing these days. And no matter how much advertising we do, people don’t seem to notice it these days.”
The location of the bakery, said Sindel, is a sufficiently major issue that she even turned down financial backing that would enable her to stay put.
“If I do this again, I’ll start with some money in my pocket,” she said. “This has been a struggle to stay afloat. But even still, this has been a choice. I want to make that clear. I’ve even turned down a backer; I just don’t think I can continue in this location. If we do it again, we’ll do it in a place with people walking by – and once we get ‘em in here, they come back. We just have to get them in here once.”
Sindel said she will certainly be left with many warm memories of witnessing diners' appreciation for her skills. “My dream was to watch people eat my desserts, and I got that for ten years,” she said. “Watching them eat my desserts and close their eyes and moan, that was heaven.”
A lot of people will be certainly be wondering where to get their biscuits and gravy fix after Jan.1, 2013. The dish, made with cheese scones and lamb-sausage gravy, was routinely lauded as one of the best B’nGs in town.
“And I’m not telling anybody how I make it,” concluded Sindel, with a throaty, happy laugh.
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