Sad news to end the week. Palena, home of acclaimed chef Frank Ruta, will close its doors in Cleveland Park. Its last day of service will be Saturday, according to a statement from the owner.
The restaurant was unable to come to terms with its landlord, Federal Realty. News of Palena's potential eviction came to light yesterday after the Washington City Paper unearthed documents showing the restaurant owed more than $100,000 in rent and other fees, as of the beginning of the year. Though the restaurant opened a successful coffee shop a few months ago, it wasn't enough to make the difference. Here's a statement from Ruta:
Palena will be closing its doors this weekend after 13 years. We have had a great run serving the Cleveland Park neighborhood and the Washington, D.C. area and are sincerely grateful to the many that have supported us.
While we are proud of the high degree of critical success Palena has achieved over the years, we take even greater joy in your patronage and that we have been able to share life's special moments with you. Cooking is what I love, and hopefully I will find a way to serve you at another venue in the future.
I want to especially thank my remarkable and loyal staff who has given Palena its special ambiance, and my equally loyal pool of investors who have been steadfast through thick and thin. Without either, Palena could not have been possible.
And finally, a heartfelt "thank you" to all who have dined with us over the years.
Beyond its acclaim in the fine-dining arena (Ruta is a James Beard award winner), simple dishes such as roast chicken and the Palena burger were beloved in the restaurant's cafe.