Ubuntu Closed for Real, Space Up for Grabs [Updated]

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Ubuntu Photo: J. Barmann/Grub Street

When news arrived last fall that Ubuntu, the Michelin-starred vegetarian restaurant attached to a yoga studio in downtown Napa, was going on an indefinite "sabbatical," we were fairly skeptical that the restaurant would reopen in its same form. Today we get our first hard evidence that the restaurant is closed for good, as Terra/Bar Terra/Ame owners Hiro Sone and wife Lissa Doumani have moved in on the space to add an unnamed project to their growing mini-empire.

We have a call in to Doumani to discuss details, but one might expect some of the casual aesthetics of Bar Terra to trickle down from St. Helena to this equally casual and stone-walled space. The liquor license app offers no business name at this time, and obviously no opening date has been announced.

But many will be sad to know that Ubuntu served its final meal last November, with chef Aaron London having already relocated to San Francisco this past winter with the hope of opening his own space here a project which remains in development as London has not yet inked a deal for a space, but fans can check out what's on his mind, food-wise, at the FoodLab pop-up he'll be doing next month, exact date TBA. Ubuntu was known for truly innovative and acclaimed vegetable dishes that first caught the attention of New York TImes critic Frank Bruni back in 2008 while Jeremy Fox was still executive chef. As recently as two months ago, owner Sandy Lawrence was maintaining that the break was temporary, and that the restaurant was reopening in the spring.

Stay tuned as we await the official word from the Terra team about what this new sister restaurant is going to be.

Update: Doumani confirms that they are in talks over the Ubuntu space, however the deal is not yet done and the liquor license transfer was a piece of the negotiation. Still, stay tuned.

Update 2: The deal fell through, but the space remains closed and potentially up for grabs.

Earlier: Ubuntu Loses Chef Aaron London as He Plots His Own S.F. Restaurant
Ubuntu to Close November 21 for Winter Break, Become a Temporary Pop-Up Venue