CHAPEL HILL – Your local trattoria, Panzanella, will close at the end of this year, after 14 years in service.

Trattoria is Italian for an informal restaurant or tavern.

When Panzanella first opened, it was one of the few restaurants to offer locally produced food.  Since then, several other restaurants have opened offering local food.  General Manager for Weaver Street Market, Ruffin Slater, says declining sales and rising costs are the main reason for closing Panzanella.

“As a result, sales have declined and costs have continued to increase,” Slater says. “We have about 25 fewer customers than we did in 2008, so it’s just no longer feasible to operate.”

Part of the Weaver Street Market Cooperative, Panzanella will not renew its lease in Carr Mill Mall. The cost of the space at Carr Mill was originally split between a bakery and office space, but since opening the Food House in Hillsborough, Panzanella now pays for the empty space.

Slater says management will spend the next few months working with the staff to help place them either in another position at Weaver Street Market, or will help them find work elsewhere and provide severance pay.  Slater says one of the key resources the company wants to help people maintain is their health coverage.

“Severance pay if people prefer to move on, as well as assistance in maintaining continuous health insurance coverage, Slater says. “We want to make sure the staff can continue that coverage.”

Panzanella is one of the few restaurants to offer health coverage to employees.

Slater says the trattoria will remain open until December 22 and continue to provide great service to customers.

For more information click here.