Vignola Cinque Terre, an Italian restaurant in Portland’s Old Port that fully embraced the concept of farm-to-table dining by harvesting ingredients from its own farm, will close permanently at the end of dinner service Sunday, the owners announced Wednesday.

“We have relished and enjoyed being a part of the restaurant community in Portland for over 18 years,” owners Dan and Michelle Kary said in a joint statement. “For us, the time was right to move to our next chapter. We’ve been especially thankful for our wonderful employees, suppliers and patrons over the years. To our loyal customers, ‘grazie mille.'”

Vignola Cinque Terre will close permanently after dinner service Sunday. Photo by Claire Jeffers

Vignola Cinque Terre began as a single business at 34 Wharf St. in 2001, named Cinque Terre after a string of five coastal villages in Liguria. In 2006, the Karys opened Vignola around the corner at 10 Dana St., a building that is connected to 34 Wharf St. and shares a kitchen, HVAC system, water heater and basement. In 2007, the two restaurants were combined, as were their names, becoming Vignola Cinque Terre.

The Karys provided the restaurants with fresh produce from Grand View, their farm in Greene, and hosted on-farm dinners every summer for their customers. The Karys live on the farm and will still be selling their honey, vegetables and herbs locally, on a much smaller scale.

Michelle Kary said she and her husband decided to close the restaurant “because we feel the space needs new life, and we are not interested in being in the restaurant business anymore. Dan is retired now, and I am still a full-time, practicing endodontist, so we just want to simplify our life and have more free time to travel and enjoy Maine and our farm.”

The building at 34 Wharf St. is under contract to Joshua Miranda, owner of Blyth & Burrows, a cocktail bar and restaurant at 26 Exchange St. In an interview, Miranda said he is buying the restaurant business at 10 Dana St. and the Wharf Street building so he can open a new restaurant. He will be leasing the ivy-covered building at 10 Dana St. from its five co-owners. He expects the deal to close within the month.

Miranda joked about his purchase: “I was worried if this restaurant closed, there wouldn’t be enough restaurants in Portland for people to choose from.”

Miranda said he had been shopping around for a while for a new restaurant space. He estimates he looked at 20 locations, but when he discovered the Vignola Cinque Terre space was for sale, it was “too special to pass on.”

“As much as I love Exchange Street,” he said, “Wharf Street is really iconic. I’m trying to be around some of the best restaurants that Portland has to offer.”

Miranda’s new property is just across the street from both Central Provisions and Street & Co., two of the city’s best-known restaurants.

Miranda would not disclose the concept he has in mind for his new restaurant – “I don’t want to tip my hand just yet” – but said he’ll be making an announcement about it in a month or so. He said it will be different from Blyth & Burrows, and he anticipates an early fall opening.

 

This story was updated at 11:38 a.m. on May 9 to correct the location of Cinque Terre in Italy.

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