A certain exorbitantly priced, marginally well liked Italian spot on 18th Street has been mysteriously closed for about a month, and this could signal the final demise of a polarizing restaurant that has seen better days. I'm talking about Farina, which had a splashy opening exactly a decade ago with a sleek modern interior, and specializing in Genovese food, but has since seen some lackluster reviews and loud rumors about its troubled business. Now Tablehopper reports via some tipsters that the restaurant has been shuttered due to a "technical problem," per a sign in the window which is encouraging patrons to go down the street to Farina Pizza for the "same quality dining experience."
A little over a year ago we heard that Farina had transferred into the hands of a new holding company, and employees and vendors were complaining about not getting paid. Fast forward to a month ago, and one Yelper reports making a day-of reservation on the phone only to arrive and find out that the kitchen was closing at 7:30 p.m. Another Yelper, six months ago, describes dining there and waiting 45 minutes for entrees to appear, only to decide to walk out when they never did. Yet another describes using a TravelZoo coupon to dine there a year ago, and being nonplussed by a bunch of surcharges on their bill.
Speaking perhaps to the power of pasta and good design, Farina has survived a full six years since Michael Bauer declared it "not worth the price" and gave it one and a half stars, and since the first reports came out about the restaurant holding on to servers' tips and doling them out on a "bonus" system. A number of Yelpers still raved in the last year about the handkerchief pesto pasta, which is the specialty of the house, and will run you $26 or more... that was the price several years ago, but prices on their online menu are now just ranges. But many of those reviewers sound like they're new to town and perhaps haven't dined around the city's plentiful Italian restaurant scene.
But given that the place has kept chugging along despite its price point and some obvious setbacks, I shouldn't say it's down for the count until that's confirmed for sure.
Update: Eater further notes that there's a legal notice posted outside the restaurant now demanding back payments for garbage collection from the landlord, which may be a first step toward eviction.