by Tara Morgan
“I finally just came to the conclusion last week that I couldn’t do this anymore,” said owner Cathy O'Connell with a heavy sigh. “Among other things, my bookkeeper just finally said, ‘Cathy, this is crazy.’ She said it broke her heart every time she came in to do my books because of how much money I kept putting in trying to keep it open.”
O’Connell said that business has been slow for quite some time. In January, she made the decision to only open up on the weekends for lunch and dinner. But even that couldn’t save the fledgling seasonal French cafe.
“Even when Nick was nominated … for Food and Wine, I thought, well, that should bring us something, but nope. Nobody seemed to even give that a second thought; I was stunned,” said O’Connell.
In O'Connell’s opinion, the restaurant’s location was a major setback. Most of La Belle Vie’s customers were not from Nampa, but rather made the 30-minute drive from Boise.
“I think Nampa’s losing something huge and they don’t even know it—to me anyway,” said O'Connell. “I’ve lived in Nampa for a long, long, long time and my restaurant was the place that I always wished we had. But one person can’t support a whole town and hope that they’ll change their mind.”
La Belle Vie will continue serving lunch and dinner until closing night, when O'Connell is planning a big goodbye party. And as for Chef Duncan? O'Connell said he won’t disappear from the scene anytime soon.
“He’s finishing up his degree at BSU right now so I know he’s got some business prospects for the future,” O'Connell said. “He’ll be just fine; you can still look for his name; he’ll be out there."