Cucina Vivace Closes in Crystal City

by ARLnow.com March 14, 2013 at 11:55 am 25 Comments

Cucina Vivace, at 509 23rd Street S. in Crystal City, has closed.

The restaurant closed last month, to the disappointment of regular customers. Chef/owner Gordon Vivace suggested that the restaurant row on 23rd Street was no longer drawing in the customers he needed in order to stay open.

“That strip is not in good shape and is simply no longer a location where an upscale restaurant can survive,” Vivace told ARLnow.com. “I was presented with an opportunity to leave on short notice, and chose to take it.”

Vivace said he does not plan to reopen.

“I’m going to stick to catering and personal chef services where my food can be my food without compromise to the price people are willing to pay to walk in the door,” he said.

  • Artie Fufkin

    Doesn’t the owner of Crystal City Sports Pub own most of the properties on that block?

    • REAL foodie .. stay at TGIF

      No. They own the Sports Pub and the strip place, Crystal City Restaurant. The rest is divided between two other real estate investors.

  • ph7

    I ate there once. Worst foie gras I’ve ever had.

    • chinkleDC

      Cucina Vivace never served foie gras. You must be thinking of somewhere else.

  • Cletus Van Damme

    Restaurant row has taken a little bit of a hit over the last couple months. With Tagolio closing, Cafe Pizzaiolo closing, and now this. And sorry, I don’t consider Enjera or Hearth Stone as suitable replacements.

  • Still better than Guy Fieri

    “I’m going to stick to catering and personal chef services where my food can be my food without compromise to the price people are willing to pay to walk in the door,” he said.

    A bit arrogant, no? Being an excellent restauratuer requires delivering the best food at prices the market will bear. An excellent chef makes the best food possible within those limitations. But, props for being honest – he’s not cut out for the restaurant biz, he can practice his art for personal hire now.

    • drax

      Yeah, typical food snob who thinks his job is to give the masses what he wants instead of what they want.

      • Mandates

        RIGHT! Oh, wait… are you talking about the chef or the county government?

      • tmginnova

        Oh good grief. If you don’t want to eat his food, don’t go there. He has every right to set his standards. Whether the market responds or not is a different issue, but please don’t be so snarky.
        It was a very good restaurant, and will be missed.

    • Crystal City

      There are parts of town that people go to spend lots of money on food. There are also parts of town where people want something faster/cheaper. His restaurant was in a part of town where people are starting to want something faster/cheaper. He doesn’t want to cook faster/cheaper. He wants to cook something people want to spend a lot of money on. He should go move somewhere where people want that, no?

  • YTK

    Vivace e Morta!!!

  • Sara

    I really liked Tagolio’s food. Shame about the owner’s horrible conduct.

    • chinkleDC

      Tagolio’s is a different restaurant altogether… nothing to do with Cucina Vivace.

      • Sara

        Oh I know. Others in this thread were talking about the other restaurants that have closed recently on 23rd and the number of vacancies. Tagolio is one of those.

  • drax

    That strip is in alot better shape than it was 20 years ago, that’s for sure.

    • Julia

      CCR launched the turnaround.

  • Dave

    Well crap. We had some groupon/living social things that we hadn’t used yet. Is that now lost money?

    • Sara

      No, contact groupon/living social, and tell them the business closed. They’ll refund what you paid.

  • DarnFineConsumer

    He should have tried being open once in awhile. We tried to go to this restaurant 4 times and they were always closed for one reason or another.

  • Formerly Oz

    Perhaps he could have opened an upscale Italian restaurant somewhere where there weren’t already 5 or 6 less expensive Italian restaurants.

  • Garden City

    I loved that restaurant. Gordon can really cook. But we always used to bug him about the restaurant’s street presence. It didn’t have one. His signage was terrible. After dark, the front of the restaurant got lost between the ones on either side. It was a place you had to know you were going to. I don’t think many people stumbled upon it.

  • REAL foodie .. stay at TGIF

    Seriously? The restaurant is closed one night per week and people here are willing to accuse the chef of being on a “coke bender” because you can’t be bothered making a reservation? “Arrogant” because everyone wants better food than at the other restaurants, but doesn’t want to pay for it? Seriously …. these comments obviously come from people who have never worked in the restaurant industry. Absolutely absurd.

  • Mise en Garde

    I loved that place.

  • CC1979

    I’ve lived in Crystal City for 8 years and I never noticed this place or heard anybody mention it. Some signage or advertising might have helped.

  • Tommy

    How about a restaurant that serves something other than Italian food? As others have said, there are other Italian restaurants nearby, and many of us prefer lighter fare. It may be that residents and the hotel patrons nearby refuse to pay reasonable prices, but it could also be that a different type of restaurant could work well.


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