Savannah’s La Scala announces closing

It is never good news whenever a restaurant owner decides to close their restaurant. There’s undoubtedly a lot of hand wringing and anguish that goes into that final decision, but that never makes it any easier. Especially when said restaurant has been around for a number of years.

That’s the case with Savannah’s La Scala Ristorante Italiana. Owners Donald Lubowicki and Jeffrey Downey have decided 6 years was enough and decided to close. The announcement was made Friday morning via social media.

“We would like to thank our loyal patrons throughout the last five and a half years that made this effort worth the undertaking.” the statement reads. “We would also like to thank our staff for all of their effort and hard work.”

The news doesn’t come as much of a surprise to those who follow the food scene. Despite a 2 year, 2 plus million dollar build out on the converted home at Abercorn and 37th streets, La Scala never really fully found its groove on Savannah’s food scene. The public was markedly divided on its quality and the space was massive. It is beautiful, but massive, which made its success a steep uphill battle from practically day one.

Believe it or not, the idea for what eventually became La Scala was first tossed about as far back as 2013, over a full decade ago. Savannah was in desperate need of additional Italian options right around the time Celebrity Chef Hugh Acheson opened The Florence on Victory Drive. The Florence’s spin on Italian food never really took off, it closed in the Summer of 2017.

By then, Donald and Jeffrey, fueled in part by their very successful French Bistro Circa 1875 on Whitaker Street, had decided they were going to take a shot at creating an Italian palace on 37th Street with approachable food. They went all in and from the looks of what was the finished product, spared very little expense at making a beautiful restaurant.

La Scala was one of Savannah’s more beautiful spaces

Several chefs and management teams later, however, it was clear they just couldn’t figure out a formula that would consistently fill the room. As we mentioned already, a significantly large room that undoubtedly brought with it nearly impossible to manage overhead. Friday afternoon, Donald and Jeffrey shared a statement with us:

For its part, Circa 1875 remains one of Savannah’s best and most consistent dining experiences. Full houses are a nightly occurrence, with it being one of a handful of eateries that locals will travel downtown for on a weekend.

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5 thoughts on “Savannah’s La Scala announces closing”

  1. Best wishes – a sore need outside of hotels are places that can sit 60-100 people for group visiting functions foe lunch and dinner. Right now event planners and tour operators hosting groups only have options within hotel spaces (mostly boring or over done) and isn’t always feasible to set up a tent, rent chairs, etc. Seems like this space is within aim of that and should be looked into by a potential investor. All the same, a true loss as the food was impeccable, the atmosphere divine and great hosts. Thanks to La Scala for all of the investment, risk and vibrancy delivered to the city foodie scene!

  2. Claire Marich

    This is undoubtedly the prettiest space in Savannah. I hope someone picks it up and comes up with a sustainable business plan. Thanks to the owners for creating such a beautiful destination.

  3. Dear Jeff and Don,

    Having owned many restaurants and having had to close down a few, I know about the struggle. You will now be able to focus on your little gem downtown.

    Bella’s Italian Cafe

  4. Not surprised based on the cost of build out and the overly formal setting. It is so surprising that a wonderful foodie town can’t seem to get some Italian restaurants. Ever since Il Pasticcio and Leoci’s closed there hasn’t been a truly great resto with wine.

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