R bistro, one of the city’s top-rated restaurants, will close its doors Feb. 27, 2016, after 15 years of business. Located at 888 Massachusetts Ave., the restaurant is owned and operated by executive chef Regina Mehallick and her husband, Jim Mehallick of Indianapolis.
“This decision is very difficult because I take great joy in creating delicious foods for others to enjoy,” said Mehallick said in a release announcing the closure. “The hardest part will be missing our many dear customers and friends who have supported us through the years. They are like family to us.”
The decision to close the restaurant comes as Mehallick and her husband are looking to slow their pace a bit, the release said. However, they still own and operate R2GO Specialty Market on College Avenue, around the corner from R bistro. There customers can still purchase Mahallick’s cooking, including take home entrees, soups, salads, side dishes and sandwiches. The market also features a deli, produce section and grocery with jarred and tinned items. Cooking classes, originally conducted at the restaurant, are now offered at R2GO.
Mehallick, a five-time James Beard semifinalist, is known for the restaurant’s weekly changing menus that focus on seasonal and locally produced ingredients. R bistro will be put on the market and has investors considering purchasing the restaurant, the release said. The restaurant has 12 employees.
Longtime sous chef Erin Kem, who took over the kitchen when Mehallick stepped away last year to open R2GO, said she is not purchasing the restaurant. She will be managing and cooking at the new Cannonball Brewery, which, she said, is slated for an April opening. Kem said she will be doing that while “looking for the right restaurant space.”
Kem said that it’s too soon to speculate on where a new restaurant would be located. Fans of the Mediterranean influences in her cooking will be happy to know that a new restaurant will focus on food in the “Mediterranean corridor,” she said.
Kem said that while she’s saddened by the closing of R bistro, “[we] have to remember what a positive, somewhat pioneering mark we made on the city.”
“It’s also positive to end on a high note,” Kem said, “when diners still say we’re one of their favorites.”
This story will be updated.