Lolita, a small and worldly bistro and wine bar on Munjoy Hill, will close in three weeks, its owners announced Tuesday.

Guy and Stella Hernandez, owners of the popular restaurant at 90 Congress St., announced their decision to close in a long post on Facebook. The last dinner service will be Sept. 2.

Lolita, which serves simple yet carefully crafted small plates, is closing in three weeks.

The couple said no one is sick, they are not out of money, and they owe no one – indeed, they say they are having the best summer in the six years the restaurant has been open. So why close? “Because some things really are more important to us right now,” they wrote on Facebook.

“The restaurant has a sneaky way of cutting to the front of the line in life,” they wrote. “It’s the thing that’s on fire (sometimes literally) that draws your energy. It’s been our way of life and it’s been absolutely grand. But now we’re ready for more – more time for us and our family.”

The Hernandezes also own Hilltop Coffee at 100 Congress St.

Lolita, which has 14 employees, was known for its mostly Mediterranean cuisine cooked by executive chef Guy Hernandez and its well-regarded wine list, curated by Stella Hernandez, who is a certified master sommelier. Andrew Ross, the Portland Press Herald’s restaurant critic, recently included the restaurant on his list of the best 75 places to eat and drink in Greater Portland.

The Hernandezes opened their first restaurant, Bar Lola, in 2006 at 100 Congress St.; they were both trained as architects.

In November 2013, they closed Bar Lola, promising its fans they would be back soon with another restaurant. Lolita opened the following spring, with the help of the couple’s new business partner, Neil Reiter, and his wife, Lauren. Lauren Reiter designed Lolita’s interior, which includes reclaimed wood, a zinc bar, and a custom wood-fired grill. The partners said they wanted to create a place reminiscent of an Old World bodega where people gather to share good food and conversation.

In an email, Stella Hernandez said she’s not sure what’s next career-wise for her and her husband. “We really have no agenda at this point except to spend time with family and friends – something that’s really important to us,” she said.  “Guy and I are – and have always been –  pretty comfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity. (Kind of required in this industry …) We’re looking forward to future adventures, just don’t know what they are yet!”

 


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