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Restaurants and bars across the country are struggling with dine-in restrictions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. By the end of the year, the restaurant industry will lose a projected $240 billion, according to the National Restaurant Association. Already, two out of three restaurant employees have lost their jobs because of the virus’s impact on the industry.
Some restaurants have closed temporarily. Some continue to offer carryout and curbside pickup. And some beloved spots across the country have had to close their doors forever.
Seen on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” on the Food Network, the Arleta Library Bakery & Cafe has closed. The hole-in-the-wall Portland, Oregon, cafe has been around for 15 years but couldn’t withstand the financial strain the coronavirus pandemic placed on the establishment. Although there can’t be any hugs, shoutouts or last calls, according to Arleta’s Facebook page, there is a GoFundMe for patrons to give staff one last tip.
Soo Jin C./Yelp
All 97 locations of this soup and salad buffet chain are closing, putting 4,400 employees out of work. The first Souplantation opened in San Diego in 1978, and the chain grew to nearly 100 locations throughout the years. Its sister chain, Sweet Tomatoes, will also be closing.
Originally opened as a gas station that also sold beer, Threadgill’s has been part of Austin’s history since 1933. It was announced on April 20 that the restaurant and music venue would not be reopening and that the founder will be selling the property.
Jen Jen W./Yelp
Dining in at restaurants may be happening again in some states, but not in New York. Thirty-six years and one Michelin star later, the well-known Gotham Bar and Grill in New York is closing for good.
Although there are a few Chicago locations, the original Stan’s Donuts opened in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles 55 years ago. The Chicago locations will remain open for carryout and delivery of their delicious donuts, but Stan Berman’s original shop is closing permanently. He hopes that “you will remember how [Stan’s] donuts made you smile for many years to come,” according to the note on his website.
The cozy Chicago brunch spot Toast will close after 24 years in business. Neither the Bucktown or Lincoln Park locations will reopen after stay-at-home orders are lifted. Jeanne Roeser, Toast’s owner, wrote on the Toast Facebook page that “nothing lasts forever in this world and it is time to move forward and see what this next phase will bring.”
Upon first opening 37 years ago, the Market at Larimer Square in Denver was just that — a small market for groceries. Years later, it began selling coffee, pastries and lunch and became a gathering place for the community. After restrictions limiting social distancing made business more difficult, the owners made the decision to close permanently.
This West Village dive bar opened in 1999 and had since become a regular hang-out for dining and imbibing. Once open 364 days a year for visitors to sip on craft cocktails and regulars to linger at the bar until the 4 a.m. last call, Daddy-O has now closed permanently. While nothing has been posted on social media, it was reported by Eater NY and the Yelp page is marked as closed.
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This laid-back dive bar almost made it to its 20th anniversary, but it had to close just shy of that date due to financial concerns and uncertainty about when businesses could be back in full swing. The restaurant’s parting message on Facebook reminded regulars to continue to “eat and drink local, tip your bartenders, and be good to each other.”
The west location is where the original Magnolia Cafe began in 1979, and it will be closing permanently in the wake of coronavirus. The South Congress location is still planning to reopen when stay-at-home orders are lifted. Soon, the south location will also offer curbside, contactless to-go orders so you don’t miss out on breakfast tacos, pancakes or burgers.
The barrel-shaped steakhouse and seafood restaurant the Cooperage opened in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1976. Working as a sit-down restaurant and a catering business, the Cooperage continued to lose business during the pandemic due to the stay-at-home orders and lack of parties that needed catering. The permanent closure was a decision made after fears arose that the business might not be able to recover post-pandemic. While nothing has been posted on social media, it was reported by the Rio Rancho Observer and the Yelp page is marked as closed.
The Paris Cafe/Yelp
After 147 years in business, the historic Paris Cafe is shuttering. Located near the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City’s South Street Seaport, this old haunt couldn’t keep operating due to the economic strains from the coronavirus. The owner posted a farewell message to the cafe’s Facebook page but is holding onto a glimmer of hope about potentially being able to “find our way back” in some form in the future.
Little Bucharest Bistro/Yelp
Although the permanent closing of Chicago’s Little Bucharest isn’t entirely the fault of coronavirus — the owner already had plans to retire — the time has come for this 50-year-old Avondale fixture to close. Its Eastern European fare was served for the last time on May 10, and there are already plans for the space to reopen as an upscale Mexican restaurant when stay-at-home orders are lifted in Chicago.
Originally opened 60 years ago under the name Alto’s, the bistro went through a few name changes before becoming Alexander’s in 1977. Despite the name changes, it’s stayed in the family for all of those 60-plus years. However, the owners have decided to close the doors. A long, heartfelt message graces the homepage of the restaurant’s website — a reflection of the relationships formed with customers throughout the years.
20th Street Cafe has been in the family since it opened in Denver in 1946. Rod and Karen Okuno, the current owners, left a Facebook message stating that while they thought they had a few years left before retiring, the economic strain the virus has placed on their business is causing them to close a lot sooner. The third-generation owners said it would be “impossible” to make a realistic comeback after the pandemic.
Though it’s been around since the early 1920s, the Gem Spa in East Village can no longer sustain itself. The shop, known for its vintage-style egg creams, was struggling financially before the coronavirus pandemic, and the virus only made matters more difficult.
When the shelter-in-place order in California got extended, it made it too difficult for Clarke’s Charcoal Broiler to stay open. It had a 75-year history of serving charcoal-broiled burgers and barbeque and had been the oldest restaurant in Mountain View, California, before officially closing on March 31.
Pacific Way Cafe opened in 1988. Just before the pandemic hit and had everyone under lockdown, the owners had closed the restaurant for a week of renovations. The walls were repainted and new cushions were placed on chairs, according to the Seaside Signal. And now none of their customers will get to see what the improvements looked like because the cafe will be closed permanently.
In a Facebook post that announced the Georgia Grill’s closing, part of the message read that the restaurant staff is “grateful for the best customer-friends.” After 30 years of service to Atlanta, the restaurant had to close its doors despite Georgia’s stay-at-home order having been lifted.
After 33 years, Italian bistro Biba Restaurant announced that it will not be able to reopen after the pandemic. As its last day approached, the phone lines were busy with loyal customers looking to get one last meal or to purchase wine or Biba cookbooks. Despite the support, the Biba family said, “the time has come for Biba Restaurant to say [arrivederci].”
The small, 20-seat dining room of McCrady’s in Charleston will not open post-coronavirus. It was the only South Carolina restaurant to have a AAA Five-Diamond Award, and it was also recognized in Wine Enthusiast’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants in America. In a message on the restaurant’s website, the staff thanked customers for their continued support and announced that the restaurant’s doors will not reopen.
Just before reaching its 20-year anniversary, Tastebuds in Cleveland has had to close because of the financial strain of the coronavirus pandemic. While the message posted to the restaurant's website and Facebook left some confusion for commenters, the closure has been reported by local TV and the number has been disconnected. The lunchtime favorite served healthy meals cafeteria-style since its opening in 2001 but can no longer manage throughout these uncertain times. Though this restaurant is closed, some states have lifted their stay-at-home orders and restaurants are able to open their doors to customers who would like to dine-in.
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