Pazzaluna, the 21-year-old Italian restaurant in downtown St. Paul, has permanently closed.
The restaurant, owned by Morrissey Hospitality, has been dark since March 17, when Gov. Tim Walz ordered all restaurant dining rooms temporarily closed to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
“Irrespective of when restrictions are lifted, we are not confident in the immediate return of customers who are worried about their health and family members,” said Morrissey president Richard Dobransky in a statement. “Pazzaluna was created for our customers to enjoy each other’s company in a sharing, vibrant atmosphere."
The official closing date is May 31. The restaurant would have marked its 22nd birthday on Oct. 27.
Pazzaluna is Italian for “crazy moon,” which was “A fitting name for an intensely romantic restaurant,” wrote Star Tribune restaurant critic Jeremy Iggers in his Nov. 20, 1998 review. “With its intimate lighting, dark woods, tall cement columns and high ceilings, it creates an aura of sophistication that makes it feel a million miles from St. Paul.”
Pazzaluna was the fun-loving Italian sibling to its more buttoned-up neighbor, the St. Paul Grill, another Morrissey property. The restaurant, a popular pre-Ordway Center for the Performing Arts destination, was tricked out in all the trendiest late-1990s dining-out features, including a showy open kitchen with up-close-and-personal counter seating, a chef’s table and walls covered in big, colorful murals. The 175-seat dining room also included a bar and a private dining area.
The restaurant resided in the historic Lowry Medical Arts Building (360 St. Peter St.), in the space that had been the longtime home of Frank Murphy, a high-end women’s clothing store.
In that same statement, Morrissey management noted that the company “Is reimagining new possibilities for the location and investigating new opportunities for the Pazzaluna brand in the future and in new locations.”
Customers with Pazzaluna gift cards can receive a refund by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by redeeming them at any Morrissey restaurant, which includes the St. Paul Grill and M Street Cafe in the St. Paul Hotel, Tria in North Oaks, Kendall’s Tavern & Chophouse in Coon Rapids and the Brookside Bar & Grill in Marine on St. Croix.
A second major Twin Cities closing was announced on Saturday: Vivo Kitchen in Apple Valley will be permanently closing on May 23.