By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published May 20, 2021 at 12:03 PM

The struggle for restaurants over the past year has been very real, and – even as pandemic regulations lift – the journey back to a healthy, vibrant dining scene is bound to be rippled with challenges and loss, especially for tiny independently owned restaurants.  For many, the challenges have been (and may continue to be) insurmountable; and they highlight the ongoing need for all of us to get out and support the places we've grown to love across the city.

Celesta, the plant-based restaurant at 1978 N. Farwell Ave. announced its closure today.

The restaurant, which made a name for itself with an ever-changing menu of plant-based comfort foods and globally influenced plates, opened to the public in June of 2018.

The very personal message from owner Melanie Manuel was posted today on Facebook (and echoed  in a similar message on the restaurant's website).

"It is with a heavy heart that I am sharing some news with you today - Celesta Restaurant is now closed. Words cannot express my profound amazement for the support my team and I have received over the past five years- through my pop ups as Beatrix Foods, to opening the restaurant and navigating COVID, and sharing in your birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, and just hopefully providing you with a nourishing meal when you needed one. I can’t thank everyone here, there are too many people that I’m beyond grateful for, but I do have to say the most unforgettable person I’ve worked with is our manager, Nina. She was behind much of our success.

But I am thrilled to announce that an incredible small business will be taking over the space very soon, one that will contribute great things to the neighborhood and community!

If you have an outstanding gift certificate, please go to our website tomorrow to see how to redeem it.

As for me, I’ll be offering some small events in the near future- dinner parties, cooking classes, and some collaborative pop ups. If you’re interested, please follow along here. Thank you again for your understanding and support!"

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.