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Friday, May 24, 2024

Closing La Piazza, Blackbird Bakery was a Difficult Decision for David Everett

Blackbird Bakery (WYDaily/ Jillian Appel)

WILLIAMSBURG — For David Everett, Owner and Chef at La Piazza and Blackbird Bakery, staffing and infrastructure challenges were the primary contributors to his decision to close the restaurants.

On Easter weekend, both Blackbird Bakery and La Piazza announced on their respective social media that they would be closing.

“Going into the spring where you have to really staff up, it just wouldn’t be fair to try and hire people — which is difficult at best — and tell them that we’re probably not going to continue this,” Everett, who also owns DoG Street Pub and Blue Talon, explained. “We’ve been looking over the greater part of a year at selling the restaurant or downsizing. There are lots of reasons for that personally, getting older all those kinds of things. It’s a lot.”

Everett comes from a large hotel background, but admitted even with that experience it was becoming difficult to manage the four establishments.

La Piazza and Blackbird Bakery were also both connected by the shared kitchen, and this was also a contributing factor as to why both establishments had to close down.

“The decision, although we would have very much liked to keep the bakery open and the bakery was doing very well — each year it has grown so were leaving on a very high note there,” Everett explains. “But there was no way to continue to cook the goods for that bakery daily out of our other facilities or the facility at the La Piazza’s kitchen.”

“Another tenant would come in there, and there’s no way to segregate the kitchen or divide it off. So it was sort of a sad way of going because out of all the things there, that’s a little easier and only takes a few staff members in the front and the back,” Everett continued.

He also noted that they looked at the feasibility of moving the bakery to Blue Talon, but the facilities wouldn’t be able to bake the high-quality goods, leading Everett to make the tough choice to shut down operations rather than experience a drop in quality.

“There’s some economic reasons [around closing] but really it is around staffing,” Everett summarized.

La Piazza (WYDaily/Jillian Appel)

La Piazza was a northern Italian restaurant concept that made fresh pasta in-house. Everett explained how it differs from southern Italian cuisine and its red sauces, which are more prevalent.

Everett that they had looked at several strategies for keeping the restaurant open, including downsizing. He also stressed that everyone who was employed at La Piazza and Blackbird Bakery was offered employment at his other establishments if they wanted it.

“No one likes this sort of thing,” Everett said. “As much as you may need or feel it’s the best thing to do, it’s still a very hard thing to do. Restaurants are a lot of work and a lot of effort and you try to do your best job. When you say goodbye to all of that, it’s tough.”

Everett recalled employees who had worked at the restaurant since it was owned by Marcel Desaulniers, the owner of the Trellis. Desulniers had approached Everett about purchasing the space when he was ready to retire and from there La Piazza had been born.

“Maybe all the cards are just right to kind of downsize a little bit now and maybe a little bit later and see how that goes,” Everett says. “The people who work for us and the people who have supported us is the whole crux of it. It’s about community, the theater of dining and all that kind of thing.”

Everett also expressed his thanks to the staff that continues to support him, as well as the community during his time at both locations.

Currently, Colonial Williamsburg is looking into potential tenants for the two spaces. For more information about Blue Talon Bistro or DoG Street Pub, visit their official websites.

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