Nicole Rucker to Close Her First Standalone Restaurant After Nine Months

Fiona’s Nicole Rucker holding baguettes up close.

Nicole Rucker at Fiona | Fiona

The well-received Fiona on Fairfax is going away

Award-winning pastry chef Nicole Rucker is closing her Fairfax restaurant after just nine short months. The newcomer Fiona opened as a bakery complete with Rucker’s famous pies, cookies, pastries, and breads, and slowly morphed into something even more unique on the savory side thanks to Rucker’s longtime friend, chef Shawn Pham. The final day of service is this Sunday, August 11.

The restaurant was the first to be reviewed by new LA Times co-critic Bill Addison back in January, who said at that time that he was mostly “smitten” with the place, even if the savory menus were still “works in progress.”

Now that work is coming to an end. Rucker sent in a closing statement to Eater earlier this week, citing “consistent lack of business” in their “difficult and personal” decision to close. The full statement can be read in its entirety below.

As for what’s next, Rucker says she’ll be traveling to support her new cookbook Dappled, and that she has some other things in the works down the line. She’s also stepping away from former partners James Starr and Jason Bernstein, who operate several other Fairfax restaurants, including Cofax. They will be taking over the lease on the property, though Starr says he’s not yet ready to share what restaurant project will come next.

Fiona’s dining room, with wooden tables and exposed ceiling.
Wonho Frank Lee
Fiona

In the meantime, Fiona’s run ends this Sunday. The restaurant may pare back its remaining menu in the coming days, but expect some of those signature pies from Rucker before all is said and done.

Here’s Rucker’s statement:

Dear community, friends, and family,

Fiona opened in November of 2018 with the ambition of creating a bakery and restaurant that would serve the kind of food that we got excited about eating. We tried our best to bring you delicious and inspiring meals and treats and aimed to become a mainstay in the Fairfax neighborhood and beyond.

Unfortunately, due to consistent lack of business and despite trying all the things a business tries to draw people to it, we are unable to sustain operating any longer. We have decided to close Fiona effective August 11.

This decision is a difficult and personal one! We’ve turned it over many times and it just seems we are faced with no other choice. Thank you to those who supported us wholeheartedly during our short stay on Fairfax Ave. we have enjoyed getting to know you and loved and appreciated every ounce of enthusiasm for the pies, baguettes, fried chicken sandwiches and bread. It’s really been a true pleasure serving you, wish we could have stayed longer!

On a personal note, I am grateful for the support and hard work of every member of staff who have been here striving to make this project soar. I’d literally never be able to do any of this without them – Shawn, Mariano, Sam, Tamara, Krystle, Sergio, and Ian, and all the staff front and back of house. Thank you for helping us build this and seeing it through to the end.

Fiona. 339 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles.

Source: LA Eater