Coronado restaurant, in business for more than 30 years, will close permanently

Primavera Ristorante, a Coronado mainstay for more than 30 years, is closing.
(Courtesy of Primavera)

Owners of Primavera, which had been closed temporarily due to the coronavirus, say the timing is right to permanently shutter the restaurant


Primavera Ristorante, a Coronado staple for more than three decades, will not reopen once San Diego County restaurants are given the green light to resume dine-in service, the owners announced Thursday.

The family-owned Italian eatery, which had been operated for the last six years by Denise Stavros and her mother Jeanette, has been closed temporarily since mid-March due to dine-in prohibitions related to the coronavirus. While many restaurants continue to offer delivery and curbside pickup, Primavera, a white-tablecloth fine dining venue, opted to not pivot to takeaway service, Stavros said.

The coronavirus, she stressed, was not the deciding factor in moving to permanently shutter the 16-table dining room.

“Believe me, the decision wasn’t based entirely on the coronavirus,” she explained. “The restaurant industry has changed a lot in recent years and the profit margins have gotten smaller and smaller. But our last three years were the most profitable we ever had here, so I don’t want people to look at this, like we were forced to close.

“We had a huge 30th anniversary party last year, and we were already contemplating when we were going to retire the restaurant because there was no one in the family to pass it on to. We can go out on top now instead of putting ourselves in a position of struggling to survive.”

Stavros noted that, unlike many restaurateurs, she and her mother owned the building where Primavera is housed, so they weren’t having to grapple with making rent payments. The restaurant also included an upstairs private dining room that seated 14.

The restaurant’s 24 employees already had been laid off in March when the restaurant shut down operations because of the pandemic.

Jeannette Stavros and her late husband Cristos opened the classic Italian restaurant in 1989. It was known for its upscale décor and Northern Italian-inspired dishes, served by tuxedo-clad waiters. About four years ago, the restaurant underwent a renovation.

“My favorite thing is interacting with all our regular customers, and the out-of-town people who would visit every summer,” said Denise. “They’re like family and more importantly, so is my staff.”

In recent weeks, several restaurants in the county have closed, although not all due to the current pandemic. The most recent high-profile closing was the Souplantation, a San Diego-based, buffet-style concept that was no longer sustainable in the post-COVID-19 world. The chain, in business for 42 years, had 97 locations.