Latina Kitchen & Bar brought South American flavor to Needham for more than four years, but it will soon be pouring its final drinks and serving its last pabellon criollo.
Residents have been vocal about their dismay, many sending owner Antonio De Trizio messages asking why he chose to sell the business when it is doing well. He said that while the restaurant is successful and the location is ideal, he made the decision because it’s what was right for his family.
“I’m a single owner, my wife is not here with us in the restaurant. I work seven days, 13 hours, it’s exhausting.”
Latina opened its Great Plain Avenue location shortly before the start of the pandemic, a challenging period for even the most established restaurants. De Trizio said that the community rallied around them and helped support them through a difficult two years.
“I have to say, Needham is an amazing community,” he said. “There’s the sense of community, of helping the business, and that’s highly appreciated.” Many customers tried Latina for the first time as a way of helping a local restaurant during COVID.
De Trizio said the lack of diversity in Needham is a challenge for restaurants, however. “Getting people knowing you, that’s the difficult part, especially if you offer specialty things like we do here — specialty Latin food that is not tacos or chips and salsa.”
After fielding many offers, he said he brought five to his landlord, who ultimately selected the owners of The Common Room, a sports bar that targets opening later this year.
“He chose the right people for the right place,” said De Trizio. “They seem very, very, very, experienced. I think they’re going to do well. They’re great people and they’re very excited to come on board.”
With a great restaurant space that is well located in the center of town near parking, “There is no reason the people coming after us will not be successful,” he said.
Once the liquor license is transferred to the new owners, the timeline for closing Latina Kitchen & Bar will be set. Until then, De Trizio plans to keep business as usual for his customers. He said he hopes to have a final event on the last day as a thank you to the community and allow those who wish to say goodbye a chance to do so.