The seven-year run of the Queen Village bistro Ela will draw to a close Nov. 3, as chef-owner Jason Cichonski says he wants to move on to the next phase of his career. (New owners are waiting in the wings.)
"I have different goals now," said Cichonski, who was 26 when he and chef-mentor Chip Roman opened Ela in the long-ago Judy's Cafe space at Third and Bainbridge Streets. Cichonski later bought out Roman, who owns Blackfish in Conshohocken.
Cichonski wants to devote his time to his Little Noodle pasta company as well as his nascent food-service management company. He and his partners' first project is Attico, the rooftop bar-restaurant at the Cambria hotel at 219 S. Broad St.
From Thursday, Oct. 25 through the Nov. 3 closing date, Ela will offer a four-course, $55 dinner menu only. After dinner Nov. 3, the restaurant will become a farewell party.
"I'm really emotional about it," he told me, as he left his lawyers' office. "Ela is like a child for me."
In addition to wearing his heart on his sleeve, Cichonski also has "Ela" tattooed on his leg.
Ela will not be empty for long. It will become a pasta and wine bar called Crybaby Pasta & Wine Bar, under locals Bridget Foy and husband Paul Rodriguez, plus chefs David Gilberg and Carla Goncalves.