Gaslamp mainstay Croce's closing at the end of the year - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Gaslamp mainstay Croce's closing at the end of the year

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - An icon in the Gaslamp is set to close its doors for good at the end of the year.

Croce's restaurant and jazz club on 5th Avenue has been an iconic downtown hotspot for nearly three decades.

Jim Croce's took one look at the historic Keating Building on 5th Avenue, and told his wife Ingrid -- this is the spot for your restaurant.

Two months later, Jim died in a plane crash, but his wife eventually opened that restaurant as a tribute to Jim and his music.

"There's no other place in the city where you can find the music that we have, it's jazz, it's blues... The best musicians in town come to play here," said Croce's restaurant manager Alex Glanzman.

Croce's opened in 1985, well before the Gaslamp was known for trendy nightclubs and great restaurants. And while many places have come and gone since then, Croce's, anchored by amazing musical talent and great food, managed to survive until now.

"This is the foundation for the Gaslamp, that's what's to be remembered, it's the foundation," said customer Dorothy Annette.

An ongoing lease dispute is forcing Croce's to close its doors for good December 31st. The two sides negotiated for more than two years.

Exactly why those talks recently broke down for good, is unclear. But Ingrid Croce gave her staff the bad news Saturday.

"I had no plans for leaving this place anytime soon," said Glanzman. "It's going to be a different feel in that restaurant for sure... She wants a different look - a different style."

Ingrid Croce is in the process of opening a new restaurant in the Bankers Hill area. And while many of the employees may now move to that spot, it will not replace Croce's.

"I've come to the resolution now in my own heart and soul that ... You know, I've done everything I possibly could to ... To get this lease and if it wasn't meant to be, it wasn't meant to be," said Ingrid.

In a statement, Keating Building Co-Owner Edward Kaen told News 8, "We love Ingrid and will miss her, but she was the one that decided not to accept the terms that were given to her. We are not making her leave, she has made that decision."

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