A fixture on Las Olas Boulevard for 20 years, Las Olas Café will shut its doors May 30 to make way for... well, nobody knows.
The venerable Fort Lauderdale eatery with the Continentalesque menu couldn't get its lease renewed, says proprietor Paula Pace, who believes building owner Las Olas Co. is seeking to replace the café with a chain restaurant that has the financial resources to do substantial renovation to the space. A deal was reportedly in the works with an Atlanta-based firm, but that has apparently fallen through.
Even with a new lease and rent reduction, Pace says, "I don't know if
we could have gone on. It's really been a struggle for the past two
She cites the closing in 2008 of Café Europa and
O'Hara's Blues & Jazz Club as the beginning of the end for her
block, along with the high cost of parking and the financial exigencies
of Las Olas Co. She's not optimistic about the future of her
soon-to-be-former spot either, saying, "Chances are it will sit empty
for a couple of years."
Pace is not, however, letting any
arugula grow under her feet. She's already at work on her new
restaurant, Mason Jar Café, which she hopes to debut in mid-June at
2980 N. Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale. Mason Jar will feature the now furiously trendy
(and lower-priced) "upscale comfort food," though many of the signature
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dishes from the café will also be offered, and the café's current staff
will move over en masse.
Still, she's wistful for what could have been.
"The Las Olas Boulevard I knew," she says, "no longer exists."