Cherished but troubled Italian restaurant Bar Bambino announced that it will close its doors on December 31st. A bit of a surprise that, since it opened in 2006, it was much-loved by fans and critics alike, with Michael Bauer giving it three stars from the get go.

In addition to creating an inventive yet simple menu -- due in large part to chef Lizzie Binder, who left Bambino to join the cast of Top Chef: Seattle -- the 16th Street joint also played a part in sparking the wood-and-Edison-bulb trend now over-saturating the Mission. "I'll forever say that 7 years ago you never saw a wood slat on the wall," owner Christoph Losa tells Inside Scoop. "I like to think we had a little part of that." (We should point out that Aidlin Darling Design, who nabbed the James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant Design for Bar Agricole, came up with the concept for Bambino's decor.)

Losa penned a seemingly sweet letter thanking both the community and his suppliers for the good times. However, according to several sources, the restaurant lacked proper management. Behind-the-scenes skirmishes and financial snafus, among other things, reportedly caused unbearable ire at Bambino, which helped contribute to its sudden closure. Nothing unusual within the local food scene, of course, but there you have it.

In the end, the food remains top drawer and memorable. You should try to to nab a reservation before it closes. In part, Losa writes:

Until then, please come support us - me, my family, my amazing staff (past and present) - and bask in the glow of our oasis on 16th Street. For the next two weeks, we’ll continue to do what we do best while reminiscing about our amazing times together. And for a lucky 100 or so guests, we will be open New Years Eve. We will be celebrating as we look toward new adventures. We’ve opted to serve our regular menu in order to relive some old favorites and focus on doing what we do best, so make your reservation soon to help us toast a fond farewell.

[Grub, Inside Scoop]