Portland’s Italian scene has lost one of its stars. Tuscan restaurant Burrasca has closed after more than seven years serving bowls of slow-braised wild boar pappardelle, steamy ribollita, and tender braised squid.
Burrasca announced on January 15 via social media post that it had closed permanently. The post did not describe a reason for the closure, other than that the lease was coming to a close and that it was “time for more focus on well-being and family; time to consider new and inspiring projects.”
Burrasca’s story is a familiar one to many Portlanders: finding success as a food cart after opening in summer of 2013, the family-owned Italian spot eventually settled into a permanent home after a successful crowdfunding campaign. The new location drew in crowds for its rich, rustic Tuscan cooking and wines, as well as for its garden patio seating. Nostrana founder Cathy Whims — one of the city’s most renowned chefs known for her Italian cooking — would reportedly visit Burrasca weekly it was so true to her experiences in Tuscany. “The food is authentic and this place is so pure and classic—it’s like an old-school Florentine restaurant from the 1970s,” Whims said in 2016. “They’re not trying to be something hip, and that’s what’s so cool about it, but most importantly, chef Paolo Calamai is the real thing.”
During the pandemic, Burrasca found itself, like many restaurants, making multiple pivots, including setting up a family-meal takeout program. However, with its lease ending, it looks like its plates of toothsome pappardelle and rich, aromatic meat sauces are no longer available. The announcement on Facebook was met with dozens of responses from locals saddened by the news.
As for next steps, owners Paolo Calamai and Elizabeth Petrosian haven’t announced anything yet, or returned requests for comment.