Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Bye Bye Palena (Cleveland Park Boogaloo)

A quick snap of Palena late Saturday night before it shuttered.

Palena, my favorite neighborhood destination, closed on Saturday. 

Palena's end seemed to have come quite suddenly.  Neighbors found out the restaurant was experiencing serious trouble through a report in the Washington City Paper. Then on Friday, Palena's owner, Frank Ruta, announced that he would be closing the restaurant on Saturday night.  It is my understanding that the employees didn't find out much sooner than the rest of us and were equally taken by surprise. 

Restaurants come and go, but Palena's shuttering has left me quite surprised and wistful. It's clear that I'm not the only one who feels such strong feelings about Palena's closing. 

Given more time to digest the news, I can't help but wonder if the community would have tried to do something to save Palena. If folks had known earlier about its difficulties paying rent, I bet that someone would have suggested a Kickstarter campaign.  Or maybe the neighborhood could have banded together like in, Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo. But Breakin 3: Cleveland Park Boogaloo has yet to be produced, and we were left with one day to say goodbye to our Palena. (The clip below can't be seen on a mobile format.)

So, on Saturday morning my husband and I (with baby girl in tow) went to Palena for our Saturday morning coffee and delicious Montreal bagels. This would be my last Palena coffee and the last time I would see most of the staff I enjoyed chatting during my regular visits.  It was bustling.  Everyone came out to give this restaurant and its employees a proper send off. 

That addio went on into the evening, when people from the neighborhood and beyond came in for one last Palena burger or simply the opportunity to say goodbye.  Even though Palena was closing, the atmosphere on Saturday felt more like a wonderful goodbye party for an old friend that would be moving far away. 
On Sunday morning my husband, daughter, and I went to church and then headed to the Little Red Fox for egg sandwiches.  The sandwiches were tasty (I highly recommend the Foxacado) but I sure did wish we were having lattes and pastries at Palena.
One very sad latte.

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