Saturday, May 2nd was the final night for the popular downtown restaurant Mezzaluna. Owner Michelle Filippou made the announcement on Facebook last week.
Good Morning!!! To all my FRIENDS …This has been the hardest decisions I had to make..Mezzalunas last day will be Saturday May 2nd.I gave it my all and tried everything I could do..but it is time to close the doors.I thank you all so very much for your support ,the amazing people I met ..the fantastic times at Mezzaluna..I love you all and THANK YOU!!!!
According to a blog article written by New Port Richey Mayor Rob Marlowe, the Italian pizza kitchen suffered from a lack of strong attendance during the week. “A restaurant owner can’t survive long term if they only get crowds on the weekends,” Marlowe said, “It takes steady business all week to cover the overhead.”
Mezzaluna also received mixed reviews on sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp!. Some patrons who are listed as “Top Contributors” on TripAdvisor complained that service was slow and music was loud. Other reviews were raving. Reviews on Yelp! are similar. It is likely that a combination of issues led to the closing.
Mezzaluna’s vacant spot will soon be filled by an expansion of a Tarpon Spring’s “southern” style breakfast restaurant called “Johnny Grits.” Johnny Grits has an existing location on Klosterman Road. They serve breakfast and lunch three days a week and also dinner the rest of the week.
Mezzaluna is not the first business to close in New Port Richey, among a high retail vacancy rate and restaurant turnover. Longtime downtown restaurant Vincenzo’s Ristorante closed earlier this year, and Larry’s Deli & Sandwich shop on Grand Boulevard closed late last year after having been open for just three months.
Mayor Marlowe pointed to Mezzaluna’s closing as a warning for more downtown support from organizations like Greater New Port Richey Main Street, and from local patrons that he would like to see spending their money at local businesses. I would go further in saying that this type of failure lies squarely with Greater New Port Richey Main Street and with the City of New Port Richey, for their part in having allowed a stagnating downtown and repeating singular failures again and again.
Closures of this type illustrate the difficulties for downtown New Port Richey businesses. Dulcet Restaurant & Lounge opened early this year and could face the same struggle: keeping patrons coming in between large downtown events in a town with a poor public image.