WILMINGTON—Popular Lowell Street restaurant Focaccia closed unexpectedly this weekend, leaving many perplexed. Patrons are scrambling to make back up plans for cancelled parties and employees are suddenly without work.
And there aren’t many sources to find out why.
Its website is empty. The phone is no help, either.
According to Dana Burnham, the closure took place on Saturday around 4 p.m.
“They asked the diners to leave and sent them out with their food in to-go containers,” she wrote on Facebook.
Last year, the restaurant, which served Italian cuisine and featured music, was sold to Disney Oliveira, who had been its executive chef for twelve years.
The restaurant was current on its taxes, according to Pamela MacKenzie, Wilmington’s Treasurer Collector.
David DiCenso, one of the owners of Luna Rossa in Tewksbury, said that someone from Foccacias called him Saturday afternoon to see if Luna Rossa could accommodate a party of 40 people that night for an event they had scheduled to take place in Wilmington.
Focaccia, according to Yelp, the popular restaurant reviewing website, was ranked three out of five stars.
The lead review by Dave L., who is from Wilmington, reads: “I’m a big fan of Focaccia; I have eaten [there] several times without complaint.”
On the front door is a large, white sign that, in handwritten script, says: “Closed.”
Focaccia’s built a strong reputation early on in Wilmington with its previous owners Peter and Robert DePesa, raced around Boston in an episode of the Food Network’s show Chefs vs. City in 2009. As previously reported in the Town Crier, following their appearance, the brothers entered into negotiations with the Food Network for a show of their own. Peter says that when the editors were cutting down the footage the director reportedly said to call the DePesa’s and get them their own show. The combination of outgoing, very Boston personalities and partnership between the bothers is just too delicious to ignore.
“Its like going from the minor leagues to playing for the Red Sox,” said Peter. “Obviously there’s a lot of great restaurants in every city, but now its confirmed - we’re the best.”
Peter is no television neophyte, having appeared with Mark Walhberg in Entourage. In fact, Focaccia’s brought Hollywood to Wilmington by hosting the wrap party for the cast of The Fighter after it finished filming in Lowell. More than 300 celebrities, including Wahlberg and Christian Bale, according to Peter, raised more than $45,000 for the Mark Wahlberg Foundation at the event which sends more than 150 kids to camp every summer.
This story is still developing.