A phone call a couple of hours ago brought the distressing news that Santi Restaurant (2097 Stagecoach Rd., Fountaingrove Village, Santa Rosa) has closed. A sign on the front door says the closure is due to a kitchen fire but an employee at Traverso’s, which shares a wall with the restaurant, says there has been no fire.

An individual, who asked not to be named and who works in the local food industry and is close to several Santi employees, confirms that the restaurant was shuttered after lunch yesterday. It’s a matter of money. Purveyors had the restaurant on a cash-only status and many refused to continue delivering to the ailing eatery.

Santi was founded more than a decade ago by the late chef Thomas Oden and chef Franco Dunn, currently of Scopa Sausage fame. Oden and Dunn sold the business to Doug Swett, who had been serving as general manager; both stayed on after Swett assumed ownership. Oden left first and Dunn stayed until the end of the Geyserville reign, when the lease for the space that once was and again is Catelli’s Restaurant was up and Swett moved the restaurant next door to Traverso’s, which seemed a perfect location. Traverso’s was eager to join with Santi to provide wines for the restaurant’s monthly regional Italian dinners.

I always enjoyed Santi and will miss it. Their legendary Spaghettini al sugo Calabrese, a recipe from Thomas Oden’s grandmother, was the stuff of dreams. And I guess it will remain so, until someone shares the recipe.

Best wishes to Santi’s hardworking and talented staff.

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