Cooperativa, the beloved Italian food hall, is closing, after opening during a period of peak uncertainty in the restaurant industry in September 2020. The massive, 5,000 square foot food hall was a much-anticipated project from chefs Sarah Schafer and Anna Caporael, both formerly of Irving Street Kitchen. The space hosts a marketplace, a handmade pasta shop, Roman-style pizza by the slice, and a bar. Several local businesses sold products at the shop, from Pinolo Gelato to Spella Caffe to the now-shuttered Tails and Trotters. But today, Monday, the restaurant announced via Instagram that it would be closing, effective September 3.
“As you all know, we opened during a time when uncertainty was the only constant,” the post read. “We have faced a multitude of challenges over the past two years of being open and have fought hard to survive, and after much thought and discussion, we have decided it is time for us to take some time and step away.”
When Cooperativa opened, there was hope that it could flourish during the pandemic due to its takeout-friendly model. Pizza and pasta could be easily taken to-go or eaten at sidewalk tables; the marketplace, meanwhile, put together curated grocery bundles. There was also hope that the market model would offer a better work-life balance than traditional restaurants, including being closed Sundays through Tuesdays.
“The restaurant model has been so broken and so outdated, and just hasn’t been evolving as quickly as it needs to,” Caporael told Portland Monthly in September 2020. “We knew along with wanting to remain passionate and inspired and healthy ... we knew we wanted to create a different model.”