Off the Menu
Spencer Platt / Staff / Getty Images News / Getty Images North America / Getty Images CC

Beloved Restaurants and Bars That Closed Permanently During the Pandemic

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Off the Menu
Spencer Platt / Staff / Getty Images News / Getty Images North America / Getty Images CC

Off the Menu

COVID-19 has crushed small businesses at a startling clip, and restaurants have been among the most visible victims. The pandemic hasn't discriminated, either, closing everything from chain restaurants to mom-and-pop joints. Cities across the country are losing some of their most prominent restaurants, from landmark cafes and diners that have endured decades to flashy celebrity-chef outposts. Here are some of the most notable pandemic-related restaurant closings in cities across the U.S.


Related: 18 Ways to Help Small Businesses Survive Right Now

Spiaggia Chicago
Erin C./Yelp
K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen
Jerome A./Yelp
Cafe Texan
Sarah B./Yelp

Cafe Texan

Huntsville, Texas
The end of the summer of 2020 also brought the end of an 83-year run for Cafe Texan, known for its iconic neon sign, time-capsule atmosphere, and unfussy dishes such as chicken fried steak. While the owner intended to close only temporarily because of the pandemic, the decision soon became permanent and the building has been sold to a buyer who announced plans to convert it into a museum.


Related: Signature Cheap Eats From Every State

Jestine's Kitchen
Paul H./Yelp

Jestine's Kitchen

Charleston, South Carolina
In its 24 years, Jestine's Kitchen became one of the most well-known restaurants in Charleston for low-country cooking, often attracting lines of customers eagerly awaiting fried chicken, cornbread, red rice, okra, and other classics. By June 2020, the pandemic made it impossible to stay afloat, though.

The Paris Cafe
Jazz F./Yelp
Wenham Tea House
Christopher K./Yelp

Wenham Tea House

Boston (Wenham)
What's more New England than a century-old tea house with a white picket fence? Sadly, the historic spot just north of Boston is another casualty of the pandemic. The owner cited "challenges with product, staffing, and finances" in June 2020 as the reason for closing down the historic spot, which offered breakfast, lunch, and reservation-only afternoon tea.

Plum Tree Inn
Mike L./Yelp

Plum Tree Inn

Los Angeles
One of the most recognizable restaurants in Los Angeles' Chinatown, Plum Tree Inn served Peking duck and Szechuan standbys for more than 40 years until June 2020. It was the last of a handful of locations that had all already closed before the pandemic.


Related: Best Chinese Restaurant in Every State

Anne and Bill's
©TripAdvisor
Dmitri's
David R./Yelp

Dmitri's

Philadelphia
Before "COVID changed everything," Dmitri's was a favorite neighborhood haunt where patrons would savor Greek favorites such as calamari, lamb, and plenty of hummus and pita. First opened in 1990, it was also a BYOB restaurant, beloved by patrons who wanted to save a few bucks by bringing their own wine. It called it quits in July 2020.

Jeri's Grill
©TripAdvisor

Jeri's Grill

Chicago
This Lincoln Square greasy spoon was a spot where Chicagoans could scarf down an omelette, patty melt, or cup of chili any time of day. Open for 57 years, it was a late-night gathering spot for restaurant and bar workers until May 2020, when the owner said social distancing made keeping the doors open impossible.

Patrenella's
Scott G./Yelp

Patrenella's

Houston
A mom-and-pop trattoria that had been serving Sicilian dishes for close to 30 years, Patrenella's even served Presidents George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush during its three-decade run ending in June 2020. The owner started the restaurant in his childhood home, eventually expanding into two adjacent properties.

Cusanelli's
Sam A./Yelp

Cusanelli's

St. Louis
It was hard to miss Cusanelli's landmark 19th century white building, with its red and green trim. The restaurant itself wasn't quite so long-lived, but had still been a St. Louis staple for handmade pizza, lasagna, and fried chicken since 1954. It closed at the end of August 2020, with owners citing "unforeseen circumstances" related to COVID-19.


Related: Best Hole-in-the-Wall Pizza Joints Across America

The Post Pub
Austin G./Yelp
The Bachelor Farmer
Trisha L./Yelp

The Bachelor Farmer

Minneapolis
After it opened in 2011, The Bachelor Farmer was a farm-to-table pioneer, helping boost both Minneapolis' dining scene and its North Loop neighborhood. It served notables including President Barack Obama, and its founding chef won a James Beard award in 2016. But the pandemic left it without a "viable path forward," owners said in April 2020.


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City Tavern
Mark H./Yelp

City Tavern

Philadelphia
This time capsule has been giving patrons a taste of Revolutionary-era dining in one of Philadelphia's most touristy neighborhoods since 1975. But the pandemic and subsequent dining restrictions have meant a precipitous dropoff in business, forcing the owner to close the landmark restaurant in November 2020. 

Louis' Restaurant
Tiffany Q./Yelp
Milton Inn
A. C./Yelp

Milton Inn

Baltimore (Sparks)
Housed in a fieldstone building that predates the American Revolution, this iconic restaurant has been a fine-dining staple north of Baltimore for more than 70 years. The financial impact of the pandemic was too intense to keep serving fois gras and other high-end favorites, the owners said in June 2020.


Related:  Iconic Restaurants to Try Before You Die

Pacific Dining Car
Nadine C./Yelp

Pacific Dining Car

Los Angeles
The Spanish flu had barely loosened its grip on the nation by the time the Pacific Dining Car opened near downtown Los Angeles in 1921, and it distinguished itself not just by the unique surroundings, but by serving fine cuisine such as mouth-watering rib-eyes and crabcakes 24 hours a day. While the owners said in September 2021 that they still hope to reopen post-pandemic, the decor, equipment, and other supplies were auctioned off. Pacific Dining Car's 30-year-old Santa Monica location closed permanently over the summer.

Markovski's Family Restaurant
AI P./Yelp

Markovski's Family Restaurant

Detroit (Dearborn Heights)
There's one less place to get authentic Polish food in the Detroit area with Markovski's closed as of June 2020. The unpretentious restaurant had served up favorites such as pierogies, kielbasa, and potato pancakes, plus classic American diner fare, in a no-frills atmosphere for 50 years.

The Market at Larimer Square
Randy B./Yelp

The Market at Larimer Square

Denver
For 40 years, The Market at Larimer Square was a place for Denverites to grab a cup of coffee, a bagel or a sandwich from the deli, or pick up some gourmet groceries. The pandemic sped up the owner's decision to retire in April 2020, leaving longtime patrons to mourn the loss of the market's iconic, fruit-covered Spring Fling cake.

Lucky Strike
Sean M./Yelp
Sage
Addie G./Yelp
Five Sixty
Samual M./Yelp

Five Sixty

Dallas
The pandemic has affected the Wolfgang Pucks of the world, too. One of the country's most notable chefs has been forced to shut down this restaurant with a view in Dallas' famous Reunion Tower, so named because of its dining room 560 feet above the city. It opened in 2011 and became a special-occasion spot, both for the setting and its modern Asian cuisine. It was gone by May 2020.


Related: 14 of the Most Expensive Restaurants in America

Barrio Café Gran Reserva
Kimberly M./Yelp
City Cafe
Peggy L./Yelp

City Cafe

Murfreesboro, Tennessee
A Main Street staple in this Tennessee town for a staggering 120 years, the homey City Cafe is no more. It closed in November 2020 "after a long, hard battle" against pandemic-related hardships. The cafe with a classic black-and-white checkered floor served comfort-food dishes including country fried steak, biscuits and gravy, and grits.

Schreiner's Restaurant
Milos T./Yelp

Schreiner's Restaurant

Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
This comfort-food stopover off Interstate 41 was known throughout Wisconsin as a reliable bet for clam chowder, ham and eggs, cinnamon rolls, or a fish fry. Before COVID-19, it wasn't hurting for business, either, reportedly serving roughly 500,000 patrons each year. Still, the 82-year-old restaurant closed in May 2020 due to "the economics associated with the current pandemic crisis," the owner said.

El Chapultepec
RunAway B./Yelp

El Chapultepec

Denver
This jazz club, bar, and restaurant closed in December 2020 due to the pandemic, a major blow to the Mile High City's music scene. El Chapultepec opened in 1933, first operating as a bar and Mexican restaurant before beginning to host musicians in the '60s. Performers included Frank Sinatra, Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, and even President Bill Clinton playing his saxophone.

Andy's Diner
Michelle P./Yelp
Trois Mec
Janice L./Yelp
Momofuku Nishi
David K./Yelp

Momofuku Nishi

New York
Though it's only 4 years old, Momofuku Nishi ranks among the Big Apple's most notable closings because it's part of celebrity chef David Chang's empire. The pasta-focused restaurant was operating on a very thin profit margin that couldn't see it through the pandemic, the company acknowledged in May 2020.


Related: Favorite Meals of Celebrity Chefs

Stan's Donuts
Mark M./Yelp

Stan's Donuts

Los Angeles
Life just got a little less sweet for UCLA students with the closing of Stan's Donuts, a small storefront serving classic pastries and drip coffee that had been going strong for 55 years until April 2020. The owner attributed his decision to speed up retirement to the pandemic.


Related: Unique Doughnuts You Have to Try

Blackbird
Lauren F./Yelp

Blackbird

Chicago
During its 23 years in Chicago's West Loop, Blackbird had become a fine-dining destination, earning a Michelin star and a following because it was "a white tablecloth establishment without the pretension," according to Eater. The restaurant's tight kitchen and dining room made it especially tough to stay open during the pandemic, and it closed in June 2020.

America Eats Tavern
Chris C./Yelp

America Eats Tavern

Washington, D.C.
Another celeb-run restaurant, this one from José Andrés, America Eats Tavern served classic American fare such as barbecue to locals and tourists alike in Georgetown. It was among the restaurants in Andres' restaurant group serving low-cost or free meals to those in need during the pandemic, but closed in June 2020.

Bistro Montage
Stephanie W./Yelp

Bistro Montage

Portland
This "late-night institution" served up Cajun fare under Portland's Morrison bridge, sending stuffed diners home with leftovers tucked inside elaborately sculpted tinfoil sculptures — until June 2020, anyway. The communal dining and colorful waitstaff were as much of a draw as the food, but the many varieties of mac ’n cheese were legendary.

Threadgill's
FoodWanderer A./Yelp
The Original Hot Dog Shop
Jim U./Yelp
Highland Park Cafeteria
Emma S./Yelp

Highland Park Cafeteria

Dallas
This beloved cafeteria managed to keep its doors open for a staggering 95 years, serving homestyle favorites such as collard greens, beef stroganoff, ambrosia salad, and plenty of pie. Still, the restaurant said in May 2020 that it was safeguarding "all 932" of its recipes just in case it can make a post-coronavirus comeback.

Gotham Bar and Grill
Go B./Yelp

Gotham Bar and Grill

New York
This white-tablecloth staple in Greenwich Village was a "fine-dining trailblazer" in a city with a seemingly endless supply of fancy eateries. A new chef had taken over shortly before the pandemic, but keeping the restaurant open became impossible after the pandemic took hold, a spokesperson told Eater in March 2020.

Bella Luna Milky Way
Nicole O./Yelp

Bella Luna Milky Way

Boston
Over the course of its 27 years, this vibrant neighborhood mainstay evolved from a small pizza parlor to a community gathering space that even included candlepin bowling. "We're about social closeness, groups, music. Distancing isn't our thing," the owners said of their decision to shut down in June 2020.

Ortanique on the Mile
©TripAdvisor

Ortanique on the Mile

Miami (Coral Gables)
Specializing in Caribbean fare, or as the restaurant called it, "cuisine of the sun," Ortanique was a fine-dining fixture for more than two decades. Owners said in July 2020 that the pandemic emptied out their dining room, making it impossible to continue churning out favorites such as jerk chicken pasta and curried crab cakes.

Jeanne d'Arc
Andrew D./Yelp

Jeanne d'Arc

San Francisco
"The Frenchiest French bistro in San Francisco" will serve its popular $58 prix-fixe menu and signature soufflé no more thanks to the pandemic. Closed after 48 years in July 2020, the restaurant was also known for its fanciful decor including stained glass, tapestries, and all things Joan of Arc.

La Tropicana
Freddie B./Yelp

La Tropicana

Tampa, Florida
This landmark melting-pot cafe has served favorites such as Cuban sandwiches and cafe con leche in Tampa's Ybor City neighborhood since 1963, but the pandemic shut it down in June 2020. The restaurant, which had even hosted President George W. Bush and other politicians, had catered to older patrons who were no longer dining out, the owner said.

Barry's Pizza
Ralph A./Yelp

Barry's Pizza

Houston
Well-worn pizza spot Barry's Pizza called it quits in May 2020 after 37 years, directly blaming COVID-19 for the closing. The restaurant survived a major fire in 2009, but the owner said it was impossible to stay open filling delivery and take-out orders only during the pandemic.

The Source Washington, D.C.
Ba Chong F./Yelp

The Source

Washington, D.C.
Another Wolfgang Puck restaurant and a favorite for D.C. power lunches, The Source was a victim of the pandemic and the closing of the connected Newseum, which drew diners in. The restaurant's modern Asian fare helped force the nation's capital "out of the steakhouse era," Eater said in May 2020. 

Cafe Sunflower
Richard R./Yelp

Cafe Sunflower

Atlanta (Sandy Springs)
Vegan food has gone mainstream these days, but that wasn't always the case. Cafe Sunflower, opened by Taiwanese immigrants in the mid-'70s,  was a pioneer for Atlanta's non-meat-eaters, but the pandemic had "mostly obliterated" business by May 2020.

El Zocalo Phoenix (Chandler)
Maggie C./Yelp

El Zocalo

Phoenix (Chandler)
El Zocalo was a place to kick back with a margarita and some tacos on the large, leafy patio, but the pandemic shuttered the business after two decades. The restaurant relied on foot traffic, the owner said, and takeout just wasn't enough to keep the doors open by May 2020.

Crab Catcher San Diego (La Jolla)
rebecca m./Yelp
El Bosque
Joey C./Yelp
Clarke's Charcoal Broiler
Jemellee S./Yelp

Clarke's Charcoal Broiler

San Jose (Mountain View) 
Long before Silicon Valley got its name, Clarke's was the place to go for a burger and a milkshake. The 75-year-old restaurant couldn't stay profitable on takeout alone, making the decision to pull the plug in April 2020 despite the impassioned pleas of longtime regulars

Aquagrill
Alina S./Yelp

Aquagrill

New York City
Even one of New York's top seafood restaurants couldn't withstand COVID-19. This highly regarded Soho eatery had been earning raves since its opening in 1996, with plaudits from the likes of Zagat and Wine Spectator. It closed temporarily early in 2020, then made that decision permanent over the summer

Lagasse's Stadium
Jay K./Yelp

Lagasse's Stadium

Las Vegas
Celebrity couldn't save Emeril Lagasse's Sin City sports bar from the pandemic. Opened in 2009, the restaurant at the Palazzo featured stadium-style seating, massive screens tuned to sporting events, and NFL-themed dishes. Until July 2020, anyway.

Cafe Ponte
Khan K./Yelp

Cafe Ponte

Tampa Bay (Clearwater)
One of the Tampa Bay area's most notable fine-dining restaurants, Cafe Ponte was known for its New American dishes and its James Beard-nominated chef, Chris Ponte. The pandemic and lease renewal issues combined to prompt the shutdown in May 2020.

20th Street Cafe
Alan O./Yelp

20th Street Cafe

Denver
Though it had endured plenty of "upturns and crazy downturns" over the decades, the pandemic pushed this institution out of business in April 2020. It served homey breakfast and lunch favorites such as blueberry French toast and Denver omelettes to regulars for 74 years.

Bluehour
Mikhail H./Yelp

Bluehour

Portland, Oregon
A fine-dining stalwart of Portland's wide-ranging food scene, Bluehour was the city's "special occasion standby for years," according to Eater, serving everything from foie gras to high-end burgers over its two decades in business. That ended in June 2020.

Captain Nemo's
Catherine A./Yelp

Captain Nemo's

Irving, Texas
Best known for its hearty steak sandwiches, in December 2020, Captain Nemo's shut down after nearly 50 years in this Dallas suburb. COVID-19 made it too hard to "continue the daily grind required, physically and financially, to keep things rolling along as they are," the owners said.

Arlington Cake Box
Sarah S./Yelp

Arlington Cake Box

Arlington Heights, Illinois
For more than 70 years, the Arlington Cake Box has been a family-owned place to get coffee cake and other sweet treats in this city northwest of Chicago. But the pandemic and the end of a five-year lease swayed the longtime owners to close up shop in September 2020.


Related: 50 Beloved Hometown Bakeries Across America

The Fours
Darryl K./Yelp

The Fours

Boston
This well-known sports bar just a stone's throw from Boston's TD Garden catered to fans of the Celtics and the Bruins for 44 years. But the pandemic stopped the constant parade of games and events, dealing a crushing blow to an institution that served sandwiches and other pub grub named after famous Boston athletes. It announced a permanent closing at the end of August 2020.


Related: Historic Dive Bars Across the Country

Espanol Italian
O M G./Yelp

Espanol Italian

Sacramento, California
The pandemic claimed the California capital's oldest restaurant, Espanol Italian, in July 2020, just a couple years shy of the eatery's 100-year mark. Known for family-style meals of eggplant parmesan, spaghetti and meatballs, ravioli, and other favorites, the restaurant relied on big groups and older patrons for its core business.

Baohaus New York
Tameeka B./Yelp

Baohaus

New York

After a 10-year run, Eddie Huang decided to close his little steamed bun spots in late 2020. The Taiwanese buns with tongue-in-cheek names such as Chairman Bao had inspired a cult following, and with prices starting at only $6, had been featured on lists of best cheap eats for years.

Uncle Boons New York
Morgan A./Yelp
Pok Pok Portland
Jessalyn P./Yelp

Pok Pok

Portland, Oregon

Winning a James Beard Award and earning national acclaim that often resulted in hourslong waits wasn't enough to save Pok Pok and its sister restaurants during the pandemic. All the Pok Pok brand restaurants closed in early 2020 with the goal to reopen one later that year; later that year, owner Andy Ricker pulled the plug.

Santa Fe Basque Reno, Nevada
Rhonda S./Yelp

Santa Fe Basque

Reno, Nevada

After 71 years in business, Santa Fe Basque closed its doors for the last time in Reno in summer 2020, citing a drop in business from a lack of downtown events due to the pandemic, among other things. Dining family style at communal tables was the norm here, something the pandemic also put an end to. 

Gem Spa New York
Tom G./Yelp

Gem Spa

New York

After almost 100 years in business, Gem Spa had become a legendary spot to drink an egg cream and read the paper in the East Village. It closed in May 2020, saying the pandemic had "ultimately sealed the fate" of the business.

Southport Lanes
Christine C./Yelp

Southport Lanes

Chicago

Southport Lanes, a bar and bowling alley, closed in fall of 2020. The building it's in was built in 1900, and Southport was almost 100 years old when it closed. Its four bowling lanes were thought to be some of the oldest in Chicago — they still used human pinsetters.