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Eugene's Excelsior Restaurant will close by month’s end

Rachael McDonald
The Excelsior is on 13th Avenue near Alder street.

Another loss is on the horizon for Eugene’s food scene. The Excelsior near the University of Oregon campus will close its restaurant at the end of this month.

Rachael McDonald
The building that houses the Excelsior Inn and Restaurant was originally a fraternity house, built in 1912.

The Excelsior has been a popular fine dining spot for 50 years. It was a French café when Maurizio Paparo bought it in 1993. He transformed it into an Italian Ristorante. Paparo said the pandemic has changed things and people aren’t drawn to food service jobs.

“The industry has been decimated with staff,” he said. “The last few weeks we lost a few more people. They want to move on and do something else and I have absolutely no way to replace it.”

Ironically, the restaurant has been busy.

“The sad part of it. We’re not closing for being slow. We’re closing for being busy,” Paparo said.

Paparo told KLCC he’ll keep the adjoining hotel open as long as possible— at least through the summer when the World Track & Field Championships come to Eugene. But the restaurant will close at the end of February.

“We’re going to have a great month of celebration. And the food, the ambience, and the service is going to be respected,” Paparo said. “But if I can’t do that to that standard, then I made a decision that it’s better to accept that it’s a different time.”

Rachael McDonald
The outdoor dining area at the Excelsior.

Meanwhile, major construction is planned nearby. The 7-11 and Glenwood Restaurant on Alder Street are going to be torn down to construct student housing. Paparo says that disruption is another reason he decided to close the restaurant.

Copyright 2022 KLCC.

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s former News Director. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000. After reporting for the Northwest News Network and KAZU, Rachael returned to KLCC in 2007 as Morning Edition host and a general assignment reporter covering politics, the environment, education, and the arts. She was hired as KLCC News Director in 2018. Rachael departed KLCC in June, 2022.