Hmm ... We just received word from Ubuntu that they will be closing the restaurant for the first time in their four-year history for a winter "sabbatical." The press release says this will "provide an opportunity for chef Aaron London and owner Sandy Lawrence to travel, study, renovate, and make the adjustments necessary for the next evolution of creative, inspired Ubuntu cuisine." The official closing date is November 21, with a vague reopening scheduled for spring, and in the meantime Ubuntu staff will stay on to host pop-ups in the space through the winter. No word on how many of those there will be, who the chefs may be (we gather London himself will be doing some of them), or how many nights a week they will occur. But we bet there will be meat!
During the break, London will also be working with gardener Rose Robertson to further expand the restaurant's gardens in preparation for next season. As London told us last spring, he's gotten a lot of gratification in being more hands-on with the gardening process, and learning from Robertson.
Starting October 23, the downtown Napa restaurant will do a series of dinners in their private dining room for loyal customers, featuring a tasting menu of signature dishes from the restaurant's recent past, customized playlists, private service staff, and hand-selected wine pairings. These will be concurrent with regular service in the restaurant. Check Facebook for details on those.
Chef Aaron London, who had worked under Jeremy Fox during the period when Fox put this restaurant on the map in 2008 (via some major raves from the New York Times' Frank Bruni) took over as executive chef following Fox's departure in early 2010. Since then he's garnered a lot of praise himself, and got shortlisted for the James Beard Rising Star award this year. We'll update you if we hear any more.