Fine dining restaurant, Pasquale, closes

Pasquale on Prospect, a fine Italian dining establishment at 1250 Prospect St. the past nine years, closed Wednesday because of failed lease negotiations with its landlord, said restaurant owner Pasquale Angelotti.

“We were paying a diminished amount of rent for awhile and then at the end we simply offered $40,000 toward back rent, but we wanted to renegotiate the terms (of the lease),” said Angelotti.

“We were paying nearly $15,000 a month, and at this juncture, (continuing) was not possible,” he said. “The landlord simply would not work with us. We wanted to keep (the rent) flat until things came back around. We simply chose to let (the restaurant) go.”

Angelotti said it is his intent to reopen somewhere nearby. “We’re looking to reopen someplace in the Village, in one of the (vacant) spaces that are available,” he said, adding he’s evaluating options.

Angelotti said he even considered the now vacant Jack’s site at 7863 Girard Ave., but added there were too many negatives. “They’re in litigation and the building is in foreclosure and there’s all sorts of issues there,” he said.

Two other Village restaurateurs, George Hauer owner of George’s at the Cove next door to Pasquale and Pat Walsh, regional general manager for Azul at 1250 Prospect Place, which is part of the Brigantine family of restaurants, said they both felt Pasquale’s departure would be a loss to the local restaurant trade.

“It’s really sad to see the condition of La Jolla retail and restaurants,” Hauer said. “We have lots of open space. You take Jack’s and Top Of The Cove and the Chart House, plus now Pasquale: Four restaurants that are bankrupt. It just looks bad when you’ve got empty businesses around you.”

“I’m disappointed,” Walsh said. “He (Pasquale) was a personal friend of mine and he’s a good guy, a great person and he just brought business and camaraderie between the two of us and our restaurants.”

Walsh said Azul might benefit initially by getting some of Pasquale’s business, but he thought that wouldn’t last long. “The first week or two we’ll get some of his business, people who come to town and aren’t aware that he’s closed,” he said. “But after a few weeks, I think it will go the other way — people will stop coming into town.”

When restaurants like Pasquale and Top of the Cove close, Walsh said it detracts from the local restaurant industry as a whole. “It just loses some of the energy when there are not places to go,” he concluded.

Angelotti said his restaurant had been hard hit by the ongoing recession. “Sales have been down,” he said. “Even when the place was packed sales were down. The restaurant was full and we’d still be 20 percent off.”

But Angelotti hasn’t given up. “I want to be in business again before the summer,” he said.

Pasquale’s landlord, Tim Considine, could not be reached for comment.