Special Report

50 Most Popular Restaurants That Won’t Reopen After The Pandemic

Source: Courtesy Amy P. via Yelp

California: Nak Won House
> Location: Los Angeles

For 34 years, this modest strip mall eatery served Korean comfort food to Koreatown locals and visitors alike. Featuring “bunsik,” a term encompassing a variety of snacks and other inexpensive dishes, Nak Won is said to have introduced many diners to Korea’s cuisine. Unfortunately, it served its last meal on Sept. 30 — due, according to a statement issued by the restaurant, “to unforeseen financial circumstances from COVID-19.”

Source: Courtesy of Farfallon

California: Farfallon
> Location: San Francisco

Described by the San Francisco Chronicle as a “fantastical seafood restaurant,” Farfallon’s over-the-top decor included jellyfish lamps hanging from the ceiling, octopus stools, and a staircase covered with 50,000 iridescent blue marbles. But now the restaurant has called it quits. The 23-year-old establishment has been closed since March, and co-owner Pete Sittnick told the Chronicle that “It was just not going to make sense given all the ramifications of the pandemic for Farallon to try to reopen either as it was — as a fine-dining restaurant with a lot of seats — or to try to think about how to pivot the restaurant.”

Source: Courtesy of Eric U. via Yelp

California: Pacific Dining Car
> Location: Los Angeles

This legendary steakhouse’s 30-year-old Santa Monica offshoot closed for good in June. Now it’s the original’s turn. Almost a century old (it was founded in 1921), this downtown landmark was open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It was famous for serving customers of every description, dressed in everything from black tie to beach togs. An article two years ago in the Los Angeles Times noted that servers have “waited on strippers, dispensary owners and the San Antonio Spurs.” A statement on the restaurant website says, “We’re taking a beat to assess what next steps are regarding COVID-19 city mandates” — but the Dining Car’s furniture, equipment, and memorabilia are being sold off at auction, and owner Wes Idol says that the operation is switching to online sales only.

Source: Courtesy of Ma'am Sir via Facebook

California: Ma’am Sir
> Location: Los Angeles

Filipino food is a burgeoning trend in Los Angeles these days, and this was one of the genre’s best and most highly praised restaurants — recipient of a rave review in the L.A. Times and named to the Eater Essential 38 for Los Angeles. Unfortunately, Ma’am Sir closed for good in late August. “Thank you to all,” wrote owner Charles Olalia in an Instagram post directed to his fans. “It was a pleasure to have welcomed you once upon a time. There will come a time when I can welcome you again.”

Source: Courtesy of Marguerite C. via Yelp

California: Bäco Mercat
> Location: Los Angeles

In what Time Out described as “a shocking turn,” noted Los Angeles chef-restaurateur Josef Centeno — whose other establishments, Orsa and Winston, has a Michelin star — closed Bäco Mercat early in Aug. Known for its flatbread sandwiches, fried chicken, and seasonal small plates, the establishment is credited with having kicked off the lively downtown L.A. dining scene when it opened in 2011. “I’m not one for dwelling too much on anything,” wrote Centeno philosophically in a statement on the restaurant’s Instagram page when he announced its closing. “I know that there is always a beginning, a middle and an end.”

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