California: Biba Restaurant
Bologna-born Biba Caggiano ramped up the restaurant scene in the California capital when she opened this place 33 years ago. Caggiano, who went on to become a successful cookbook author and TV food personality, died last August, and her family was already reportedly having difficulty running the restaurant before the crisis.
A statement signed by Caggiano’s husband and daughters on the Biba website announced “Our last day was Friday, May 8th, 2020,” explaining that “Our beloved restaurant community has been shuttered and with the uncertainty of what the future holds, we are unable to wait out this storm.”
>Location: San Francisco
An upscale 170-seat Chinese restaurant, which cost a reported $7 million to build, Hakkasan closed permanently in late May after eight years of serving black cod with Champagne and honey, black truffle duck, and other luxurious specialties. The decision was made “To preserve the long-term stability of our business,” according to a company statement given to the San Francisco Chronicle.
There are 11 other outposts of the chain — three more in the U.S., two in London, and one each in five other cities in Asia and the Middle East. The Hakkasan in Shanghai, the chain’s only operation in China itself, has also closed in response to the coronavirus’s effects on business.
> Location: San Francisco
A San Francisco restaurant icon that opened in 1937 above the remains of the historic 1894-vintage public swimming complex called Sutro Baths, Louis’s is no more. The owners — grandchildren of the original owners — posted a message on the restaurant Facebook page in mid-July reading in part “After much deliberation and a lot of tears we have decided after 83 continuous years of business…to close our business permanently.”
California: Pacific Dining Car
>Location: Santa Monica
The original Pacific Dining Car in downtown L.A., founded in 1921 and probably the city’s best-known steakhouse, spawned this Westside location in 1990. Serving 24 hours a day until the coronavirus lockdown, it was considered a Santa Monica essential. The owners say that the combination of the pandemic crisis and curfews imposed during the recent protests made it untenable for the restaurant to reopen.
The contents of the place — including kitchen equipment, table settings, furniture, and paintings — were sold at auction in June.
Colorado: 20th Street Café
> Location: Denver
After 74 years in business under three generations of the Okuno family, this neighborhood breakfast-and-lunch establishment has called it quits. The place has survived “up-turns and crazy downturns in the economy,” wrote current owners Rod and Karen Okuno on the restaurant website, “but this final one proved to be insurmountable for our little corner of the world.”