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

Iconic Restaurants That the Pandemic Has Closed Permanently

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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 in just a few short months. Big-city restaurant scenes are losing some of their most prominent members, from landmark cafes and diners that have endured decades to flashy celebrity-chef outposts. Here are some of the most notable pandemic-related restaurant closures in major cities across the U.S.

Related: 18 Ways to Help Small Businesses Survive Right Now

K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen
Jerome A./Yelp
John's Famous Stew
©TripAdvisor

John's Famous Stew

Indianapolis
With roots dating back to 1911, John's Famous Stew has beckoned generations of Hoosiers with its promise of hearty stew and mouth-watering breaded tenderloins. The humble restaurant, begun by Macedonian brothers who wanted to bring their mother's stew to the U.S., is now up for sale


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" as the reason for closing down the historic spot, which offered breakfast, lunch, and reservation-only afternoon tea.

Related: The Best Things To Do In Boston

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. 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 quickly evolved into a favorite neighborhood haunt where patrons would savor Greek favorites like 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.

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, but the owner said social distancing made keeping the doors open impossible.

Related: The Best Hole-in-the-Wall Diner in Every State

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. The owner started the restaurant in his childhood home, eventually expanding into two adjacent properties. 

Related: Best Old-School Italian Restaurants in 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 have said.

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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 say.

Related: 60 Iconic Restaurants to Try Before You Die

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 now that Markovski's is closing its doors. The unpretentious restaurant had served up favorites like 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, leaving long-time 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
Barrio Café Gran Reserva
Kimberly M./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 closures 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

Related:Favorite Meals of 23 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 closure of Stan's Donuts, a small storefront serving classic pastries and drip coffee that had been going strong for 55 years. 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.

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 like barbecue to locals and tourists alike in Georgetown. It was among the restaurants in Andres' restaurant groupserving low-cost or free meals to those in need during the pandemic.

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. 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 like collard greens, beef stroganoff, ambrosia salad, and plenty of pie. Still, the restaurant says it is 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.

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.

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 say the pandemic has emptied out their dining room, making it impossible to continue churning out favorites like 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, the restaurant was also known for its fanciful decor including stained glass, tapestries, and all things Joan of Arc.

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, corn bread, red rice, okra, and other classics. However, the pandemic made it impossible to stay afloat.

College Inn Pub
Dylan P./Yelp

College Inn Pub

Seattle
Long a favorite haunt of University of Washington students, the College Inn Pub has shut its doors after 46 years. The basement dive bar, housed in a Tudor building that legend says is haunted, was known as a place to linger over a game of pool or pub grub. It was unable to stay open without its normal influx of campus customers.

Barry's Pizza
Ralph A./Yelp

Barry's Pizza

Houston
Well-worn pizza spot Barry's Pizza has called it quits after 37 years, directly blaming COVID-19 for the closure. 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 both the pandemic and the closure 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 says.

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 "mostly obliterated" business.

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 has 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.

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 despite the impassioned pleas of longtime regulars.

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.

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.

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. It served homey breakfast and lunch favorites like blueberry French toast and Denver omelettes to regulars for 74 years.

Bluehour
Mikhail H./Yelp

Bluehour

Portland
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.