La Chiesa closing doors

Saturday, December 15, 2012
Jeremy and Trisha Neppl announced Friday their intention to close La Chiesa New Year's Eve. The couple will be opening Restaurant 1856 at the Emporium on Lake West Okoboji around the first of April 2013. La Chiesa will be open Dec. 31, with specials on food and drink beginning at 9 p.m. No information was available regarding the decision to close the restaurant located at Gary's on the River in downtown Spencer. (Photo by Randy M. Cauthron)

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  • how do you say The Emporium's Basement in Italian?

    -- Posted by old timing man on Mon, Dec 17, 2012, at 3:00 PM
  • il seminterrato di emporio? LOL

    -- Posted by deweyh on Mon, Dec 17, 2012, at 3:28 PM
  • New it wouldn't last. High priced food and drink.

    -- Posted by buss22 on Mon, Dec 17, 2012, at 3:48 PM
  • @buss22. Apparently you've never been to La Chiesa. It isn't high priced at all. Great food. Sorry to see it leave.

    -- Posted by Mechler on Mon, Dec 17, 2012, at 5:48 PM
  • ya.. not really shocked.. went there for my birthday.. the food was terrible and there was hair in my dessert... :(

    -- Posted by KJC89 on Mon, Dec 17, 2012, at 6:39 PM
  • I've been to La Chiesa with my husband a couple of times. The last time - and we swore it would be the last time - was on a Saturday night. The dining area was about 25% full.

    The menu was skimpy, the server didn't bring any bread until we noticed the baskets at other tables and asked for some. This was shortly after we'd placed our order. Even so, the bread basket didn't arrive until we were halfway finished with our meal and had to ask for it a second time.

    We were both disappointed in our meals. We each had a drink, and our server never came around to ask if we wanted another. All this, remember, in an establishment that was only a quarter full.

    Don't like to bash the place, but, after our experience, we weren't surprised to hear it's closing.

    -- Posted by JTennant on Mon, Dec 17, 2012, at 6:42 PM
  • There are many places in Spencer that display inexcusably bad service. It's no wonder people so often, for a nice night out, go up to the Lakes. Personally, I'd rather zip out to Barb's Corner than eat at most of the supposedly nice places in Spencer.

    -- Posted by AmyPeterson on Mon, Dec 17, 2012, at 6:51 PM
  • Might have something to do with the land lords opening a competing business over the noon hour right beneath them. Probably a little upset about it. I'm sure mediocre business had something to do with it as well.

    -- Posted by CubbieBlue on Tue, Dec 18, 2012, at 10:50 AM
  • I don't think they can go to the basement of the Emporium. What scares me is that they will take Rebo's spot and Rebos isn't coming back.

    -- Posted by joe2 on Tue, Dec 18, 2012, at 12:43 PM
  • I've never eaten there personally but know quite a few people who have. The only positice comment I have ever heard or seen on the place is the one above by simpleperson. Any person I have ever asked about the place has always said that the food wasn't very good and the prices were too high. I think the fact that don't serve good food and apparently have pretty bad service has more to do with their closing doors than a restaurant opening underneath them.

    -- Posted by lastsonofoa on Tue, Dec 18, 2012, at 5:04 PM
  • I am a huge fan of La Chiesa, and am very sad to see it go. The food is wonderful, the service is spotty, I'll give you that, but so is the service everywhere in Spencer. I have ran restaurants all over the state, from fine dining to country steakhouses. Bad food can be saved by great service, great food can be destroyed by lousy service. Good luck to the Neppls. You will see me and my family often.

    -- Posted by old timing man on Wed, Dec 19, 2012, at 9:36 AM
  • I think I'd be a little upset if the person I was giving money to each month was trying to take business away from me so I'm sure that has SOMETHING to do with it. I wasn't a fan of a lot on their menu but the wood fired pizza was very good. It was nice that they offered different items but obviously that didn't work out for them. I didn't go eat their a lot so I'm not too beat up that they are moving north. They will do better at the lakes anyway.

    -- Posted by CubbieBlue on Wed, Dec 19, 2012, at 10:07 AM
  • I never had a bad meal there or particularly bad service. My issue was the ambiance. For a restaurant that was suppose to be fine dining it was not very well appointed. It sucks to see them go to the lakes as we are once again left with a handful of sub par restaurants to deal with that all have the same hum drum menus. As far as the business down stairs I am unsure how much effect a coffee shop down stairs that only serves a limited menu would bother them. I guess I am just glad that Rabab's is still open in Spirit Lake! Much better place anyway! HMMMM maybe we could get them to move in!!!

    -- Posted by deweyh on Wed, Dec 19, 2012, at 10:48 AM
  • Have you been to the Bear, iowafan11? They have a few sandwiches during lunch, but not something I'd say is a true competitor for an actual restaurant. I'd say they were primarily a coffee shop and wine bar.

    -- Posted by notinia on Thu, Dec 20, 2012, at 1:16 AM
  • While I am not enamored with the restaurant offerings in this town, I have to stop short at saying they ALL offer the same hum drum menus.

    Most I won't even eat at, but those I do are very good.

    In particular, I thoroughly enjoy Napoli's. The service is first rate and fast, the wait staff is knowledgeable about the menu, and the food is hot and delicious.

    And since they apparently aren't rebuilding the burned Mineral City at the Lakes, I'd love to see it come to Spencer, though I know that Sports Page is also owned by those owners, they offer much different food choices.

    As for La Chiesa, it's too bad it didn't work out, but we have never eaten there because it was never recommended to us when we would ask about it.

    We heard high prices, small portions. That sounds like catering to a particular small clientele right from the get-go. After awhile that won't keep you in business.

    -- Posted by spencer-gma on Thu, Dec 20, 2012, at 3:28 AM
  • I have eaten at the Bear. I liked it. La Chiesa only offers a few sandwiches over the lunch hour as well. So they compete only over the noon hour. My point being is a land lord should never put themselves in direct competition with people they rent to. Especially when they are located right below them in the building. I'm sure that upset the Neppl's a little bit and only helped their decision to close their doors since the lease is up and the end of the month. I'm not saying it played a big part in the decision but I bet it played role.

    -- Posted by CubbieBlue on Thu, Dec 20, 2012, at 10:25 AM
  • If La Chiesa offered a few sandwiches over lunch, The Bear offers a few sandwiches over lunch, and in addition to Carroll's Bakery, Sisters Cafe, and the Dream Center, we also now have Jimmy Johns serving sandwiches downtown at lunch, I don't think there's a single picnic short of a sandwich in downtown Spencer. In fact, I think a restaurant could better compete in offering no sandwiches or burgers at lunch, but specialty luncheon items.

    -- Posted by AmyPeterson on Thu, Dec 20, 2012, at 12:55 PM
  • As far as The Bear competing and causing La Chiesa to leave is concerned, I think that's just silly.

    The fast food places all compete with each other and have no problems. They've been here forever and unfortunately keep coming.

    Restaurants at the Lakes aren't far from each other. Restaurants that surround shopping centers in bigger towns compete and there doesn't appear to be a problem.

    La Chiesa knew going in that the place was going to be renting out to other businesses. I don't see that the menus compete. They'll have to look at their internal problems and STOP blaming others.

    If they had bothered to listen to the public complaints...which could be heard in barber shops, beauty salons and everywhere you would talk to friends...they would know it wasn't because of any recent competition. If you serve good food, have great service, good-sized portions, and aren't priced like you were in a big city, customers would still be coming.

    -- Posted by spencer-gma on Thu, Dec 20, 2012, at 2:09 PM
  • I missed the part where La Chiesa owners were blaming others, I just see conjecture on why they are leaving town.

    -- Posted by Guy Fawkes on Fri, Dec 21, 2012, at 6:08 AM
  • Arrivederci La Chiesa!

    -- Posted by Dennis the Menace on Fri, Dec 21, 2012, at 6:34 AM
  • .. and we wonder why young professionals won't stay in Spencer. Look at the comments above, these are the people asking our city council to get businesses into town. Yet, they are the same people tearing apart entrepreneurs trying to make a go at starting a business. We need to support the little man, as much as the large corporations, and it starts with each of us, not just city council. I've eaten a 3 course meal with my husband at La Chiesa for $45 including two $5 drinks. There were all types of pricing options, and as far as portions sizes, it's what we should be eating, but are accustomed to large plates packed to the brim and buffets at other places. It's sad to see them go, it was a nice option to send visiting family and business people to when in town, and the loss makes downtown grand that much more empty.

    -- Posted by Vanessa on Fri, Dec 21, 2012, at 7:38 AM
  • Evidently people only read what they want to read. The Bear has every right to compete with them for lunch business but IMO I think its shady or wrong I guess for the retail space owners to collect rent money from La Chiesa and then turnaround and open something that has the potential to take business away from La Chiesa. Now they will be losing lease money from La Chiesa closing and have taken up their own retail spot so they aren't collecting lease money from that retail space either. Bad business decision if you ask me. For the owners sake, they better hope The Bear succeeds and they can find a tenant to lease the old La Chiesa or they will be out a lot of money.

    And NO I don't think The Bear is the sole reason La Chiesa is closing. I said in a previous post that I think it had SOMETHING to do with it. If business was booming I'm sure they wouldn't close.

    -- Posted by CubbieBlue on Fri, Dec 21, 2012, at 10:18 AM
  • Vanessa,

    So, so true. Thank you for your thoughtful reply.

    If you want to be a town that people want to come to - and stay - you have to be willing to make it a place that people want to come to and stay by supporting those people. It's as simple as that.

    There is a reason people leave at the first opportunity they get...and never return.

    -- Posted by givemeabreak1 on Fri, Dec 21, 2012, at 11:47 AM
  • For those that are angry, it was never my intention to stir up anger.

    As I see it, of course we want to bring new business to town and keep other business that is worthy of keeping.

    Obviously, the majority of people did not like several things about La Chiesa and thus did not return enough to keep them in business. I just do not buy into the argument that La Chiesa MAY have been run out due to a coffee/sandwich bar in the same building. And to set up business in a building where other business was supposed to come in and then expect to run a monopoly on the food business in that "mall-type" setting, is not reasonable thinking, in my opinion.

    I do appreciate that the Neppl's were trying to bring to Spencer something they thought would be successful..a restaurant with a highly trained chef and prices to go with it. Apparently the prices as opposed to the serving sizes was one of the problems.

    As for me personally, I don't require huge servings for medical reasons, but I don't expect to pay big prices on small servings. There are successful restaurants at the Lakes that may do this and I guess that's where they will have the most success. There are also nice high end, successful restaurants at the Lakes that don't do this, and I frequent those, along with 2 in Spencer.

    Rather than packing up their toys and leaving, I'd rather see them change up their game and stay.

    -- Posted by spencer-gma on Fri, Dec 21, 2012, at 12:09 PM
  • @spencer-gma. Please get over the prices. They are not high. Their game can't "change" because people keep running around town saying they are "too high" when they obviously haven't been there. The food is great! The ambiance is great. They even offer a "half order" with a reduced price. The service.... fair. Maybe a big problem is the stairs. It may be too daunting for a lot of people to climb. Nobody is going to ride that dinky lift that runs along the stairs. That is a little embarrassing. Get something people can stand on or ride a wheel chair onto. Better yet an elevator. I realize that elevators are costly to install maintain. La Chiesa we will miss you.

    -- Posted by Mechler on Fri, Dec 21, 2012, at 1:55 PM
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