Iconic Yakima restaurant closing after 54 years

Gasperetti’s Gourmet Restaurant had struggled with its location in a run-down part of town. The pandemic was the final straw.

Yakima Herald-Republic

By Mai Hoang / Yakima Herald-Republic

Gasperetti’s Gourmet Restaurant in Yakima will not be re-opening, ending a tenure that spanned more than a half-century.

The restaurant closed in late June, with plans to re-open in Phase 3 of the state’s coronavirus re-opening plan. Owner John Gasperetti cited economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing restrictions on opening for what was then a temporary closure.

On Sunday, Gasperetti announced on a post his personal Facebook profile that he would not re-open the restaurant, citing not only COVID-19 but the challenges of running a restaurant on North First Street, which in recent decades had become impacted by crime and homelessness. The city of Yakima has been working on a number of improvement projects to revitalize the area.

“It is with a heavy heart that I announce that Gasperetti’s Restaurant, after a 54-year run, is closed,” he wrote. “The last few years have been tough with the continued deterioration of North First Street and the increasing homeless population.”

In a phone interview Monday, Gasperetti said that he had been considering a number of options, including moving to a new location, but ultimately the COVID-19 pandemic and the negative economic impact from it was the final thing that cemented the decision to close.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen with the hospitality industry,” he said. “I don’t think it will be the same.”

Gasperetti opened the restaurant in January 1966. The restaurant’s operation was a family affair with his father, Mario, helping in the kitchen, his mother, Minnie, hosting, and sister Jean Gasperetti Lemke, serving customers.

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