Another era draws to an end, this time in Uptown. Lucia Watson has confirmed that she is in the process of selling her trio of restaurants on 31st Street near Hennepin Avenue. The one of the early leaders of the local food movement assures fans that they won't see much change in day to day operations at the address.
Yesterday, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal first reported that the same shareholders behind the multi-level seafood spot, Stella's Fish Cafe on nearby Lake Street has filed paperwork to take over the business.
Watson later confirmed to Rick Nelson at the Star Tribune that she was retiring and selling the restaurant to a group of investors led by Jason Jenny, CEO of Stella's and McHugh's in Savage.
The good news is that all parties agree the best course of action is to change nothing at Lucia's. Ryan Lund will remain the chef and Heather Asbury will remain general manager. Both have been with Lucia's for the past eight years.
Lucia Watson first opened the restaurant in 1985. The wine bar was added in 1993, the first in the city followed by the bakery in 2006. In between she found time to co-author a cookbook, was nominated three times for a James Beard Award and racked up several awards from local publications. While she no longer will be keeping business hours, she isn't letting go completely. In her retirement, Watson will continue to consult on the business.