Pete's Tuscan Hibachi Grill was the Joey Bishop to Cafe Bella Sera's Sinatra: classy, oddly entertaining, a good sense of humor. But now, the unique concept that fused Japanese hibachi-style cooking with Italian-American eats is officially closed.
The Parkland restaurant, which sat right next door to owner Pete Lombard Jr.'s successful Cafe Bella Sera, shut its doors in mid September after struggling to pull its weight in difficult times. Lombard says the restaurant, which he opened in January, was costing him between $20,000 and $25,000 a month to keep afloat. Last month, he was forced to decide to close the concept or risk having it affect Bella Sera as well.
"This is my baby," said Lombard via telephone, citing the poor economy and forclosure problems in Parkland as the main reason for the restaurant's closure. "Closing it now is what I needed to do to keep afloat."
For the past six years, Lombard has developed quite a following for
Bella Sera's serious (and seriously expensive) take on Italian
classics. But the former executive chef at Anthony's Runway 84 isn't
ready to give up on his off-kilter brainchild just yet. Provided business picks up, Lombard hopes to re-open Pete's and have those hibachi tables refired and
grilling again by mid December.
"I think the concept is great," he says. "It's never been done before. It was just bad timing."