Domus Café closed its doors for good abruptly on Monday after nearly two decades of business on Murray Street in the ByWard Market.
The restaurant opened in 1995 and chef John Taylor took over ownership in 1997. The restaurant was co-owned by his wife, sommelier Sylvia Taylor.
Taylor, who announced the closure on Twitter at lunchtime on Monday, said business started falling off last fall and had fallen off 45 per cent since January.
Yep were done thanks to everyone for the last 18 years it was a blast ! But time to move on. Cheers to all !— John Taylor (@domuscafe) May 26, 2014
"We were going to go another week but I decided to stop the bleeding now because it's just hemorrhaging money," said Taylor.
"I'll walk out with my head high on a good note."
Taylor earned his reputation by serving seasonal dishes with ingredients supplied by local farmers.
He said the rising cost of fuel and dairy has shrunk profit margins, while competition remains stiff.
"All the boroughs have their own spots now and they don't need to come down to the market anymore," said Taylor. "All we have is business and tourism and everyone pulling their belts up and it hurts."
Zen Kitchen also closes on weekend
Across town on Somerset Street in Chinatown, high-end vegan restaurant Zen Kitchen closed on Saturday.
Owner David Loan said he closed the restaurant's doors after the Canada Revenue Agency seized his bank account for not paying the HST.
"It left quite a pit in my stomach," said Loan. "I'd love to reopen and get my crew back working at their jobs."
Loan said he is confident he can pay the taxes to CRA and then re-open his restaurant.