Special Report

The 35 Most Popular Restaurants That Won’t Reopen After the Pandemic

Source: Courtesy of Aquagrill via Facebook

New York: Aquagrill
> Location: New York City

Add this 24-year-old SoHo seafood restaurant to the list of establishments that had closed temporarily in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, but has now decided to make the closure permanent. “Aquagrill is not continuing to operate in light of the unsafe effects of the coronavirus on public dining out,” reads a statement on the restaurant website.

Source: Courtesy of Aureole via Facebook

New York: Aureole
> Location: New York City

Celebrity chef Charlie Palmer announced in mid-June that his upscale 32-year-old Aureole, which relocated to 42nd Street across from Bryant Park in 2009, would not be reopening. However, said Palmer on the Aureole website, “Moving through these uncertain times and with a changing industry landscape, we remain dedicated to offering our loyal patrons the very best in American cuisine … .” That means “boutique-style take-out,” as the website explains, plus wines and craft cocktails and an Aureole catering operation.

Palmer will eventually open a steakhouse on the site, with fewer seats to meet social distancing requirements, and he has left open the possibility of opening a smaller Aureole at another location at some future time. A second Aureole location, in the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, remains closed temporarily, but a statement on its website says “our priority is to reopen.”

Source: Courtesy of Gotham via Yelp

New York: Gotham Bar & Grill
> Location: New York City

One of the most famous and long-lived restaurants to shut down permanently in the face of the pandemic, Gotham weathered the departure last year of chef Alfred Portale, who had been in charge of the kitchen for 34 years (he started in 1985, a year after the restaurant opened). The new chef, Victoria Blamey, received promising reviews. Then came the pandemic.

In announcing the decision to close in mid-March, Gotham issued a statement explaining that “the unforeseen situation created by the coronavirus has made operation of the restaurant untenable.”

Source: Courtesy of Ellen P. via Yelp

New York: Jewel Bako
>Location: New York City

A sign in the window of this well-loved Michelin-starred sushi bar near Manhattan’s Cooper Square, posted in mid-May, announced an “open house sale” of kitchen goods, appliances, and equipment, as well as wine “for cheap.” In 2018, Jewel Bako’s owners opened a chef’s counter place next door called Restaurant Ukiyo, which also won a Michelin star. A statement on the Ukiyo website announced officially that both establishments have closed for good.

Source: Courtesy of Lucky Strike via Yelp

New York: Lucky Strike
> Location: New York City

Opened in 1989 by noted Manhattan restaurant mogul Keith McNally, this SoHo bistro initially provided takeout and delivery services when in-house dining was banned, like many other places. It stopped doing that in late March, before announcing in April that it would not be reopening. The restaurateur blamed “Greedy landlord during lockdown syndrome” for the closure. McNally — whose other restaurants include the acclaimed Balthazar and Minetta Tavern — was himself hospitalized in London with COVID-19 in early April.