Before 14th Street was a hip dining destination, there was Ristorante Posto. But after more than seven years in business, the Italian eatery served its last pizzas and pastas on Saturday.
"When I opened the restaurant, I was 29. Not everybody gets to open a restaurant at a young age," says owner Massimo Fabbri. "Definitely I learned more than I could possibly have imagined... It was one of the best experiences I ever had. I mean, I cried last night."
When Posto opened in December of 2008 in the pits of the recession, there weren't many other upscale—let alone Italian—restaurants in the neighborhood. In the last few years, however, Ghibellina, Etto, Lupo Verde, and others have brought competition to the corridor.
"Definitely getting 40 restaurants in the same street doesn't help," Fabbri says. "Imagine if you have a shoe store and you have another 40 shoe stores that open down the road. Are you going to make more money? It's hard. How many shoes can people buy?"
Beyond a loyal neighborhood following, the restaurant has hosted the likes of Nancy Pelosi, Sonia Sotomayor, Bon Jovi, and Natalie Portman over the years. On its last night, 390 people turned out to say goodbye, Fabbri says.
"Nothing lasts forever... We were happy to be there. We were excited. But it's just time to move on," he says.
Now, Fabbri plans to take a vacation then spend some time at his other restaurant, Tosca. As for whether Posto may return elsewhere? Fabbri says he'd like to do another restaurant, but it probably won't have the same name.
"I don't know if I want to do pizza again," he says. "Maybe something like Tosca, but a little downscale."
Photo by Jessica Sidman