This August will see the sun set on Adrian Richardson’s 25-year-old Rathdowne Village bistro La Luna.

While many Melbourne restaurants have been forced to close lately due to a series economic challenges, Richardson tells Broadsheet the La Luna lease was up for renewal, which gave him time to reflect.

“The question was, can I give 100 per cent of my effort and my energy to La Luna for another five years … and the answer’s ‘no’.

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“And if I can’t do that, I’m not doing the right thing by my customers and my staff.”

Richardson started the restaurant in 1998 with an apprentice and two casual waiters on the floor.

“In 25 years, I’ve seen everything. The GFC, the millennium when everyone thought their computers were going to die, the pandemic,” he says.

He says the La Luna brand may “pop up somewhere else” in future, but his team is focusing efforts elsewhere for now.

“I’ve spent a lot of time in that venue; it’s been a great vehicle for me to do different things but it’s time to do something else.”

That something else includes working on his restaurants Maestro in Geelong; Pasta Bambino, a casual pop-up in Bouvier on Lygon Street; and overseeing the food offering at Gallery at Marvel Stadium.

La Luna will operate as usual until August, with some special events, including a favourites banquet, planned for the final weeks.

“Most restaurants would be lucky to last a year, so to last 26 years in August – I think it’s something for me to celebrate,” Richardson says.

La Luna Bistro at 320 Rathdowne Street, Carlton North, will close in August 2024.