Last puff: With his trademark wit, Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyard announced Friday that his Santa Cruz restaurant, Le Cigare Volant ("The Flying Cigar"), will close effective Dec. 31. The news came in a news release titled "Doonsday?" that featured a photo of a Mayan temple.
"The restaurant business is not for the faint-hearted, nor for anyone who cannot devote 200% of his or her attention to it," Grahm wrote. "We are re-focusing on the things that we are very good at -- making wine, that is, and the occasionally too-clever-by-half wine package. This has been an incredible, mostly very joyous ride for us, and we wish to thank everyone -- our customers, vendors, and exceptional staff -- who has been part of this once in a lifetime otherworldly experience."
Chef Ryan Shelton, who had cooked in the Michelin-starred kitchens of Baumé and Chez TJ, worked with Grahm to launch Le Cigare Volant just this past spring.
"With Ryan Shelton at the helm of Le Cigare Volant, Grahm and his wines have finally met their match," wrote Mercury News restaurant critic Jennifer Graue in a September review that was high on praise for Shelton's creativity and artistry.
The space will reopen in mid-January as a tasting room only.
Holiday tradition: If the opening line of that old chestnut, "The
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