Fiona, Nicole Rucker’s Fairfax Avenue restaurant, to close after less than a year

Key lime pie at Fiona.
(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Pastry chef Nicole Rucker is closing Fiona, her Fairfax Avenue restaurant, after nine months in business.

Rucker announced the news in an Instagram post Thursday afternoon, calling the decision a “difficult and personal one.” Fiona will close for good on Sunday.

“Unfortunately, due to consistent lack of business and despite trying all the things a business tries to draw people to it, we are unable to sustain operating any longer,” she wrote. “We’ve turned it over many times and it just seems we are faced with no other choice.”


Besides Rucker’s famous pies — her Key lime was a standout — the all-day bakery and restaurant showcased chef Shawn Pham’s eclectic cooking, including Vietnamese beef stew, dahi toast with spiced yogurt and curry leaves, and sweet potato pancakes.

The restaurant, Rucker’s first, quickly became a favorite among the city’s food writers; restaurant critic Bill Addison made Fiona the subject of his first review for this paper in January.

“Rucker and Pham’s combined abilities bring fresh energy to a style of comfort food that, in its eclecticism and individualism, belongs to Los Angeles,” Addison wrote. “Any restaurant this young will of course mature, but Fiona strikes me as restaurant deliberately designed to evolve — with the seasons, with the friendship and creativity of its principal chefs and with the city itself.”

Yet the restaurant — located on a restaurant-packed stretch of Fairfax that includes Jon & Vinny’s, Badmaash and Canter’s — was rarely busy. In recent months, Fiona shortened its operating hours, ended dinner service and overhauled its menu.

Rucker published a cookbook, “Dappled: Baking Recipes for Fruit Lovers,” in July.