By Carol Tannenhauser
Isabella’s at 77th Street and Columbus, a staple of the Upper West Side dining scene for decades, closed its doors for good on Monday morning.
“Wow, they were open last night,” said one woman who walked by and saw the “closed” sign.
An employee said “the landlord chose not to renew our lease.” BR Guest Hospitality, explained further.
“Isabella’s lease was up for renewal and the landlord chose not to renew. We enjoyed the past 30 years and thank everyone in the community for their support. BR Guest Hospitality will continue to offer many other great restaurants in the city, including Atlantic Grill, Dos Caminos, Blue Fin, Bill’s Bar and Burger, Blue Water Grill and Strip House.”
It was recently reported that BR Guest would be purchased by Tilman Fertitta, who owns the Landry’s restaurant chain, several casinos and Bubba Gump Shrimp restaurant in Times Square. At the time the sale was announced a lawyer for the company said, “We plan on keeping all of the restaurants….We don’t plan on changing anything.”
“It’s the end of an era,” said one passerby. “It’s like the 80’s,” said another (presumably a reference to tough times on the UWS).
Another blamed the management for allowing the place to deteriorate.
“What one man built and operated successfully for over two decades, was destroyed by corporate entities in recent years that lacked any knowledge of our UWS community and the landmark value of Isabella’s,” wrote Joseph Bolanos.
The Mediterranean spot has a large outdoor patio and a sun-filled dining room. On weekends, it was usually packed for brunch. It was featured in an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. The Isabella’s employee said the restaurant had been around 30 years.
Update: Read the letter from a former Isabella’s owner here.
Photos by Carol Tannenhauser. Chair photo by Peter Weiss.