In yet another demonstration of the toll that the food-and-beverage business takes on personal lives, Rob Laudicina and RJ Moody on Monday night announced plans to close Spero, a small restaurant that passed the difficult test of consistently impressing industry insiders.
A justified favorite of restaurant workers and other eaters who prioritized quality food above all, Spero is scheduled to close after service on Saturday.
“Everything has a beginning and an end,” says Laudicina, who three-and-one-half years ago opened Spero on Upper Meeting Street. “We need to be with our loved ones and take care of our personal life: That’s the idea we currently have.”
Recently featured in The Post and Courier for its popular fried chicken special, Spero also experimented with the occasional Italian-American menu. But its nightly business was defined by meat-fat biscuits, globally inspired sandwiches and the owners’ serious commitment to not taking themselves too seriously.
“Some of it has been rewarding, and some has been soul crushing,” Laudicina says of the years spent as a restaurant owner. While he’s grateful for the outpouring of support that followed Spero’s closing announcement on social media, he concludes, “Sure, it’s a bit of a stroke to the ego, right? But butts in seats is what it comes down to.”
Still, Laudicina doesn’t rule out a return to the restaurant business. While he’s admittedly excited by the prospect of spending a year behind a desk, he points out that he and Moody have devoted most of their adult lives to restaurant work: Moody’s only non-industry jobs were with Toys R Us and La-Z-Boy.
“Unfortunately, this is what we both know,” says Laudicina, who’s looking forward to seeing his 2-year-old, as well as far-flung relatives he hasn’t visited since Spero opened. “But we decided it’s just time to reinvent ourselves and take care of life.”
According to Laudicina, the partners have had conversations about closing from the moment they opened the restaurant.
Spero is at 616 Meeting St. Its fried chicken special will go on Tuesday night as planned.