By Dave Schwab
Trattoria Acqua Italian restaurant in the Village, which nearly shuttered its doors a year ago but remained open due to an 11th-hour lease agreement, has closed again: This time for good.
“They worked out a year’s lease with a five-year option and they didn’t exercise their option — their lease is up at the end of the month,” said landlord Don Allison of restaurant owners Michael and Victoria McGeath, who operated Trattoria Acqua for 17 years at 1298 Prospect St.
“It was a great run but everything has to come to an end,” said Michael McGeath. The restaurant closed on Jan. 31 after the final meal was served. “The lease came up and we decided to move on. We just decided we want to relocate somewhere else. We don’t know yet where.”
McGeath said his family is looking at opportunities that might be available to lease restaurant space elsewhere.
“But we’ve made no decision yet,” he said. “Hopefully, people will follow us to where our new location is, wherever that may be.”
One loyal customer, Chuck Buck of La Jolla, wrote in an e-mail on Wednesday afternoon: "Quite a sight this afternoon. Quite sad, actually. A charming one-of-a-kind restaurant with a knowledgeable wait staff, excellent wine selection and a refreshing take on traditional Italian dishes. I will miss her quaint interiors, fresh crisp linens, and a rustic patina that graciously aged in a charming and captivating manner."
McGeath intimated tough economic times factored into his decision to leave.
“The recession has affected everybody in La Jolla all the way down the food chain,” he said. “Tourist business is down. The hotels aren’t doing a lot of business.”
The restaurant was set to go out of business in March 2010, but reconsidered after coming to terms with landlords Allison and Bill Zonker.
At that time, the McGeaths credited the loyalty of locals for their decision to remain in La Jolla Village.
After that, McGeath, who co-owned the Italian restaurant with wife Victoria, attempted to reinvent his business, which he described as “American-style” Italian, by going back to being a full-on Italian restaurant and taking his menu back to what it was when the couple started their business.
“We’d like to thank the tens of thousands of people who supported us over the last 17 years,” McGeath said.