Blue Grotto restaurant on Federal Hill closes

The Blue Grotto restaurant on Atwells Avenue in Providence.

Alex Natale says he and his daughter have been working for nearly three months to plan a surprise 50th birthday party for his wife this weekend.

So when he got a call Thursday morning from a woman at the Blue Grotto telling him the restaurant was closed, Natale said he couldn't believe what he was hearing.

"You're stuck and you have a lump in your throat and you don't know what to do because I don't want to break my wife's heart," he said.

Natale said he sent out invitations, chose a menu and prepared for out-of-town family members to come in.

"You know, the Italian theme, on Federal Hill, the nice restaurant, a little something jazzy for my wife," he said.

The woman from the Blue Grotto told Natale the restaurant was closed as of Thursday and going into receivership. Natale said he already put down a $500 deposit that he won't be getting back.

"I'm like, 'Inconvenience? Do you know what you're telling me? You're telling me it's something that we've planned for over two-and-a-half months that invitations have been made'. People are ready to go. They've confirmed, they've RSVP'd," he said.

Last week, The Vintage restaurant in Woonsocket, which has the same owners as the Blue Grotto, also suddenly shut its doors.

Natale said he's upset but glad that another restaurant agreed to host his party.

"Not exactly what we wanted, but it will work out for our birthday party for my wife," he said.

NBC 10 placed several calls to the Blue Grotto restaurant, but each time the restaurant's answering machine picked up. The message said the restaurant was still open.