Cafe Lago, the quirky restaurant on the street level of an apartment complex in East Dallas, finally closed on Sunday with a lengthy, dramatic farewell email sent out to customers by owner Gabriela Kovacic.
Kovacic had threatened to close repeatedly over the past few years, most notably in 2011, when she announced that she was looking for a buyer. But she was unable to find a satisfactory offer.
Cafe Lago premiered in 2001 as an offshoot of Franki's Lil Europe, which Kovacic opened with her then-husband Franc. The restaurant's salads, sandwiches and tapas got mixed reviews, but it had a prime location near the Dallas Arboretum and a dog-friendly patio that made it popular among pet owners.
Her email was classic Kovacic:
I opened my first restaurant in 1987 when I was only 27 years old believing that this neighborhood would appreciate a unique flavor and service approach that was not a chain and - - - you did! I'm proud to brag that the culinary palatte [sic] for the people of the Casa Linda, White Rock, and the East Dallas area is blossoming because of my dedication to this area - before that it was chain, predictable food and look at what is now around us!
Many, many plates, glasses and tables have been filled with a variety of flavors, fun and experiences that made people happy and unfortunately, a few disappointed - such is the nature of this business.
This is a tough, physically demanding job and I am tired, drained, pooped, fatigued etc but excited about what the future will bring me - - - rest, time to read, be with my family - especially my baby sister who could use my help as she journeys through a little more breast cancer. I assure you that another restaurant is not in my future!
Please tell your friends. I want everyone to know as I dread the thought of someone driving up and not knowing what happened. I asked the landlord to leave my notice on the door for a week but their love for me is only as good as the rent I paid. $50K X 12 years ??? do the math, be number 12 to respond & I'll make you a cake!