In recent weeks, four Salt Lake Valley restaurants have closed; and the owners of Cucina Vanina, Dojo Restaurant and Sushi Bar, Gusto and Lugano all have seemingly different reasons for calling it quits.
Cucina Vanina, 1844 E. Fort Union Blvd., Cottonwood Heights » After spending time with family in her native Italy, owner Vanina Pirollo said she has decided to close her Italian restaurant and change direction. She will now offer personal chef services and private cooking classes. "At this time, I am closing the restaurant and hoping to find someone to take over the lease, someone who enjoys serving customers as much as I do," she wrote on her website.
Dojo Restaurant and Sushi Bar, 423 W. 300 South, Salt Lake City » Chef/owner Kelly Shiatoni closed the restaurant in May, saying the hidden downtown location was part of the problem. He currently is working with Hip Enterprises — the owners of Iggy’s Sports Grills — on a new restaurant concept. Last month, Shiatoni told members of the state liquor commission that he plans to transfer Dojo’s club license to Hip Enterprises. It could be used for a new Mulboons Restaurant in Trolley Square, he said. Longtime Utah residents will probably remember that in the early 1990s, Hip Enterprises, owned by the Ipaktchian family of Layton, operated five Mulboons restaurants in Utah.
Gusto!, 2095 E. 1300 South, Salt Lake City » It hard to say exactly what brought down the restaurant formerly known as BrewHaha. Maybe it was owner Bryce Jones’ yearlong battle to obtain a state liquor license, which was finally granted in June. It also could have been the landlord, who in June filed an eviction notice and a lawsuit, claiming Jones owed him $10,000 in unpaid expenses. Not one to back down, Jones said he filed a counterclaim for $50,000. Finally, the incohesive menu and decor at Gusto! also may have played a role in its demise.
Lugano, 3364 S. 2300 East, Holladay » When chef/owner Greg Neville opened Lugano 14 years ago, it quickly became one of Utah’s dining darlings. But in recent years, the Italian restaurant suffered some internal turmoil, and it was taken over by chef di cucina Jonah Hornsby and former employee Barney Northrop. A few weeks ago, the duo decided to close the restaurant. A notice on the website said they have turned the space over to a new restaurant group: "They will be a great addition to Salt Lake City’s dining scene supporting the local, sustainable products and businesses."
Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.