Saddest Restaurant Closings of 2018
Austin, Texas: Torchy’s Tacos trailer
The hip Austin-based taco chain called Torchy’s, which now has almost 20 brick-and-mortar locations in Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado, started life in 2006 at this location, Torchy’s Tacos trailer, a modest trailer in South Austin’s food-truck agglomeration. “Our menu and commitment to food quality has outgrown a food trailer kitchen layout,” owner Michael Rypka told Eater in explaining his decision to cease operations at this location.
Baltimore, Maryland: Aggio
Popular “Top Chef” contestant Bryan Voltaggio closed his Aggio, a contemporary-style Italian restaurant, earlier this year, citing no reason. The restaurant had been hailed by the Zagat guide as “innovative,” “notably different,” and having “all the right ingredients for a classy meal out,” and Baltimore Magazine called it “a foodie fantasy with creative compositions you won’t find anywhere else in town.” Voltaggio had closed his other Baltimore restaurant, Family Meal, in 2016. Another Aggio location, in Ashburn, Virginia, also closed this year.
Boston, Massachusetts: Les Sablons
Garrett Harker — proprietor of Boston’s popular Eastern Standard, Island Creek Oyster Bar, and Row 34 — is known as one of the city’s more successful restaurateurs. That made the sudden closing, last summer, of his year-old Les Sablons in Cambridge something of a shock to the local restaurant community. Harker gave no reason for the restaurant’s demise, but several analysts blame a recent spate of Boston closings on an oversaturated market.
Boston, Massachusetts: Townsman
Townsman was named one of America’s best new restaurants in 2016 by Food & Wine, cited for its “good food…good ambiance,” and chef-proprietor Matt Jennings won a James Beard Award nomination. No reason was given for the closing but a Townsman Instagram post said that chef Jennings was “excited to craft a life that is more thoughtful, healthy and sustainable for himself and his family.”
Chicago, Illinois: The Silver Palm
A modest diner housed in a 1947-vintage railway dining car, the Silver Palm came to national prominence after the late Anthony Bourdain visited the place in 2008 for his “No Reservations” TV show and sampled its Three Little Pigs sandwich. The influential TV personality declared the creation — composed of bacon, smoked ham, and a deep-fried pork cutlet, topped with Gruyère cheese, and two eggs — to be “the greatest sandwich in America.” The diner’s owners blame rapid changes in their neighborhood for their decision to close.