Though it's drawn a loyal crowd of neighborhood regulars in its nine years in business, chef Ben de Vries has decided to close Luella, the Russian Hill restaurant he co-owns with his wife Rachel. De Vries, who cooked at Ecco, LuLu, and Andalu before opening Luella, apparently is more enthusiastic about cooking than he is about business: as he told Inside Scoop, "What's really exciting to me is the prospect of being a chef and not being a bookkeeper. I love every aspect of this business not related to cashflow." De Vries had tried some new strategies in recent years, including offering to-go dinners and party takeout, doing wine promotions, and appearing on daily deal sites, but it seems things ultimately didn't work out.
Luella's last night in business will be August 31, and the space has apparently already been sold to a "group of industry veterans." They will be changing the concept, but are staying silent for now on what it'll be. In the meantime, De Vries is searching for a chef job, and says he's grateful to his loyal clientele for their support: "I just want to convey a massive thank you, from me to everyone that has supported us."
· Luella to close at the end of August [Inside Scoop]
· Bauer Gives Luella 2.5 Stars [~ ESF ~]