After more than three decades, Croce’s restaurant and jazz bar -- a staple for live music in San Diego -- has shuttered for good, its owner announced Monday in a blog post.
The restaurant started as a vision between 1960s singer-songwriter Jim Croce and his wife, Ingrid, when the couple moved to San Diego in 1973.
But a week later, Jim died with five others when their plane crashed into a tree in Louisiana.
Ingrid wrote that she wanted to “recreate the warmth and energy of my time with Jim Croce, and those early days of entertaining together,” by building a restaurant and music venue in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter in 1985.
Croce’s Restaurant and Jazz Bar thrived for decades on the corner of 5th Avenue and F Street.
"She and Jim Croce and [Ingrid's current husband] Jimmy Rock are a part of the San Diego scene, and she was the unofficial mayor of the Gaslamp way back when," said customer John Vaughn.
However, a lease dispute with her landlord forced Ingrid and Rock to move the restaurant in late 2013.
The venue relocated to Banker’s Hill and rebranded as Croce’s Park West.
“And unfortunately, we have found that live music isn’t the draw that we hoped and needed it to be,” Ingrid wrote in her farewell letter. “The piracy and devaluation of music has been such a major blow to us that we can no longer afford to support live music on our own. And it wouldn’t be Croce’s without live music.”
The decision to close money came quickly for both customers and employees, who found out Monday morning that the business had been sold.
"I would come here often for happy hour and it was great. The bands were awesome and the employees were really nice," said customer Maria Baylon.
Ingrid and her husband thanked San Diegans who supported the restaurant and helped honor Jim Croce and his musical legacy.
“In the end, Croce’s Park West was fabulous…the food, the ambience, the hospitality, the live music and our wonderful guests, who have become like friends and family. It was everything we wanted it to be! We feel it was a success,” Ingrid wrote.
To read more about Croce's, click here.