It's never good news when a restaurant closes. But it was particularly sad to read this morning in the Boston Globe that Rocca, a very large restaurant in the city's South End neighborhood, suddenly shut after New Year's Eve. Shocking, too: I'd just been there last week, at a large birthday gathering—it was the kind of place friends and family relied on for special-occasion gatherings, because the owners, Michela Larson, Gary Sullivan, and Karen Haskell, were such longtime supporters of the city and community. (Larson, a friend, was instrumental in founding Community Servings, a group serving home-delivered meals to critically ill people, which I've long been involved with.) There were few other tables filled that night, it's true—but it was also the first night after the blizzard that covered us and virtually incapacitated New York City, so that didn't seem surprising.
Apart from a sense of personal loss, I'm also surprised because the relatively new chef, Tiffany Faison, probably has the highest national-TV profile of any Boston chef, with the exception of longtime star and Food Channel contributor Ming Tsai. She's a repeat participant in "Top Chef," including in the current season, and thus a media celeb (here she is giving happiness tips to Self, which unfortunately she'll need). TV visibility is usually the surest route in the food world to commercial success. And it will doubtless help Faison raise money for the restaurant of her own she has wanted to open, as she told my colleague Devra First.