Downtown Sanford’s Steele Pig announced on Facebook last night that is has closed effective immediately so it could focus “on a number of upgrades that aim to significantly enhance [its] guests’ dining experiences.”

The post went on to apologize for the lack of notice and inconvenience, but added, “With the rapidly approaching holiday season, we feel like this is a now-or-never moment.”

The Steele Pig changed hands in March this year when commercial real estate broker Brandon Atkins and former Temple Theatre marketing director Chris DeLambert purchased the restaurant from Richard Blackwelder.

The restaurant — known for its modern take on southern food — opened in 2000 as Bella under then-owner Joe Delvecchio with an upscale Italian concept. It became Bella Bistro under second owner Chad Blackwelder, shifting to an Americana menu featuring offerings like duck, sea bass and more. Blackwelder rebranded it the Steele Pig in 2010, creating a menu with items ranging from pulled pork to burgers and roasted quail. Blackwelder sold to his brother Richard in 2014.

The restaurant announced on July 28 this year that it was going to no longer offer lunch, citing a desire to “take a step back and focus on dinner.” Despite today’s closing announcement, the Steel Pig will remain available for scheduled banquets and private events, according to its Facebook page.

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