The Cypress restaurant and upscale bodega wings of the multi-faceted operations at 1124 W. Garden St. will be no more by the end of August.
The owners of Cypress announced online Tuesday that they will retain the kitchen and back-of-the-house operations of the property they bought in 2018 in order to run the Emerald Coast Bread Co., but will sublease the dining room to an existing restaurant in the coming months.
ECBC part-owner McKenzie Lovelace referred to the upcoming tenant as a popular, well-established Pensacola restaurant owner who was in search of a new home. She said Tuesday the deal is all but finalized, and an announcement on the tenant’s identity should come in the next few weeks.
“You’ve got to make lemonade from lemons,” Lovelace said Tuesday, while citing the coronavirus pandemic as the reason for the restaurant and shop’s permanent closure. “We’re fortunate to have the support of other restaurateurs and the local community with our bread. If we didn’t have the bread, this would be a much different situation for us. It wouldn’t be a bittersweet ending for us, it would be all bitter.”
Cypress was a casual-elegant, New American-style restaurant that opened in the former George Bistro location in February 2019. The restaurant, which announced a temporary closure in March shortly after the pandemic began, converted fully into a small retail shop later in the spring, selling ECBC breads, Evans Meats, cheeses, soups and more.
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In addition to the shakeup about the property, the Tuesday social media post also announced that two of the four original owners of Cypress would split away from Lovelace and husband Luca DiSomma to pursue other endeavors.
“With this change, our amazing Chef Coleman Jernigan and his talented wife and beverage director Courtney (Stagg), have been given an opportunity to expand their culinary and vinous journey elsewhere,” the post read, before providing a quote from the couple.
“We cannot thank the Pensacola community enough for the privileged opportunity to cook for you and be part of the local hospitality. We wish the staff and ownership at ECBC the best of luck moving forward, and look forward to seeing the expansion of new ECBC products in and around the Pensacola area. Keep on baking!”
ECBC, a wholesale bread distribution bakery, launched out of the Cypress kitchen in October 2019. With its fresh-made artisan breads and bagels, the company quickly forged partnerships with many local restaurants and retailers in Pensacola.
Lovelace said the bread company continues to ascend and without any restaurant-like capacity restrictions, she said it was an easy decision for her and DiSomma to go all-in on ECBC.
“We kind of looked at each other and said, ‘Maybe this is a blessing in disguise,'” Lovelace said. “Because we do need to focus more efforts on the bakery. The demand for the bakery is continuing to grow.”
The company will sell off its bar glassware, vintage decanters and other items at a date in the near future. Lovelace said to follow the former restaurant’s Facebook page for the official announcement.
Aug. 28 is the final day the retail store, in its current form, will operate. Lovelace added that the new restaurant will likely set up a small retail section of its own, where ECBC bread will be sold on site.
Jake Newby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 850-435-8538.