In our most recent update on Coquette's Bistro back in July, we'd noted their plan to cease operations at 616 S. Tejon St. and open Coquette's GF Bakery & Market in the former Cupcake Girls location.
But plans have changed, and a lengthy note on their Facebook page dated September 11 explains why they're opting to shut down entirely as of 7 p.m., Sunday, September 20. In one passage, it reads:
"We realized that we were trying to do more to keep up with what we created than we were really happy to be continuing to do. It had become an untenable struggle and strained our family. We love you all so much and a lot of our ‘sticking it out’ was really for you. We know we are not the typical restaurant and you are not typical customers. It will be a very sad parting on both sides of the 'counter' but Coquette’s will be closing and has no plans to reopen at this time."
I called co-owner Michelle Marx shortly after reading this (as Coquette's was among finalists in the 2020 Indy Best Of, where they've perennially earned gluten-free-friendly awards) and she repeated as well as elaborated on some of what she wrote on the Facebook page along with her daughter and co-owner Turu.
She told me "Covid was the last straw — we were already under a great deal of pressure." She said it's expensive to do what they do, "create this environment, make our products from scratch, and people in the Springs don't always want to pay too much for things — we couldn't raise our prices and accommodate our clients." Plus, she added, there was just no time for family.
"We just needed to take a break," she added. "We have no idea what we'll do in the future and we may or may not continue in some form — we're going to reassess everything."
Marx said they've had a lot of requests for a recipe book, and they're considering publishing one, or writing some type of memoir/cookbook. She's put the current location up for sale, meanwhile, and is looking to lease the former Cupcake Girls spot she purchased. On a personal note, both she and Turu are looking to return to creative endeavors they've put on hold over these many years as they ran the business.
For the final week in business, they plan to offer the same, limited Covid menu they've run in recent months, and they're helping to relocate and transition their staff members, Marx says.
"When we see what people have written [on our Facebook page, in support of us] the stories are amazing and full of so much love. We sit there crying. ... But I think everyone gets it now. It's so much harder, and now people know what it takes to operate a restaurant. Covid has brought attention to it. But our loyal customers want us to live good lives, and that's what we want back."