Saturday was DaVinci's last night, General Manager Jason Bentley reports. He blamed the closure on a "double whammy," the steep recession combined with a particularly difficult stretch the restaurant endured in 2008, when the construction of the Hutton Hotel's parking garage wreaked havoc on Hayes Street.
"It has been very difficult with the economy doing what it did," Bentley says, "and then in 2008 we got the noise, the dust and the street closures. We lost a lot of parking." He said some of the customer base never came back, even when the street returned to normal.
However, as Bentley philosophically notes, "DaVinci's had a nice, long run."
"The thing I'll miss the most is the relationships," he says. "Over the years we've developed a great clientele, very loyal. ... I've seen kids grow up."
"We made our own sauce, made our own dough every day," he added. "And we used real high-quality cheese. That combo made for the longevity."
Back in the 1980s when the business started, pizza toppings tended to be pedestrian, and DaVinci's grabbed attention with signature pizzas like the Bella Vita (spinach, Roma tomatoes, onion, garlic, feta and provolone).
Of course as every Bites reader knows, pizza is a contentious issue, and some people have told me that DaVinci's quality became inconsistent. In my experience, the pizza, the wine and the cozy ambiance were always good. (I especially liked the scallops they used to offer as a topping.)
As recently as August, Scene food critic Carrington Fox praised DaVinci's regular Tuesday deal, when all menu items were half-price (alcohol excluded).
Of course, when it comes to restaurants, goodbye doesn't always mean forever. We're hoping that DaVinci's will return someday in a more auspicious location.