By NATALIE MARTIN
Nirvana Bistro & Bar, which had become a popular spot on Vashon’s restaurant scene, shuttered its doors last week.
The restaurant’s last day of business was Dec. 31, when it hosted a concert for New Year’s Eve.
“We wanted a way for people to come and say goodbye,” said Rohit Sharma, who owned Nirvana with his wife Shivali. “It was a nice way to see friends, and a lot of people who supported the restaurant came.”
On Friday as Sharma worked to sell the restaurant’s equipment and furnishings, he explained that the decision to close Nirvana was a hard one for the young couple. While they loved managing the eatery in town, he said, they worked long hours there and the business became exhausting. The two are now ready to start a family and will move to Southern California to be closer to family members who live there.
“It’s a very demanding business, and I wouldn’t be able to have time for family,” he said. “And basically to be around my mom and dad is important to us.”
Sharma purchased the business in 2011 and ran it as an Indian restaurant until the fall of 2012, when they revamped the place, remodeling the interior and expanding the menu offerings to include a variety of international cuisine.
The popular restaurant and bar has also become a hot spot for concerts, regularly offering music on the weekends.
While the move is the best one for the couple personally, Sharma said, they’re sad to leave Vashon.
“More than the restaurant, I think I’ve enjoyed Vashon, and it feels very bittersweet to leave,” he said. “We’re going to go to our family, but Vashon adopted us a little bit, and now we’re going to leave.”
Sharma, who has been leasing the space Nirvana is in, said he’s not sure what will happen with the spot next, but there has already been interest from another potential tenant.
“It feels like we really accomplished something that people really got behind, and we’re very, very thankful,” he said. “We feel very blessed to have been here.”
Once he and Shivali have wrapped up their affairs on the island, he said, they plan to vacation somewhere tropical before starting their new life in California.
“We’re going to sit by the beach as much as possible and do nothing,” he said.