Special Report

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

Source: Courtesy of Richard L B. via Yelp

Georgia: The Tavern at Phipps
> Location: Atlanta

“Since 1992,” according to the still-active website of this Buckhead mainstay, known for its sandwiches, steaks, and pasta dishes, “The Tavern at Phipps has served over five million patrons and counting.” The counting stopped in early October, when the place, which shut down initially in March, announced that it would not reopen. While some sources cite a lease dispute with its landlord as having led to its demise, the director of marketing for the restaurant’s parent company told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the cause was “timing and the pandemic.”

Source: Courtesy of Howard L. via Yelp

Illinois: Fountainhead
> Location: Chicago

“It is with heavy hearts that we have come to the decision to close Fountainhead effective November 14, 2020,” wrote the owners of this North Side establishment on their Facebook page on Oct. 1. According to Eater, Fountainhead “helped usher the age of the gastropub in Chicago” when it opened in 2010. The restaurant’s Facebook statement went on to say, “We would like to hold out a little bit of hope that if, by chance, the situation changes, we will be able to stay in business.” However, they also admitted that “pressures facing our industry at this time make it financially impossible to operate past the roof deck season.”

Source: Courtesy of Lawry's The Prime Rib, Chicago / Facebook

Illinois: Lawry’s the Prime Rib
> Location: Chicago

This branch of the famed 82-year-old California-based steakhouse chain, which opened in 1974 in the historic McCormick Mansion, announced in September that it will cease operations permanently on Dec. 31. Corporate CEO Ryan Wilson told the Chicago Tribune that the pandemic was a contributing factor to the decision, but he also cited the expiration of the current lease and vandalism linked to recent protests in the downtown area.

Source: Courtesy of Five Forks Market / Facebook

Illinois: Five Forks Market
> Location: Rockford

A longtime favorite in this northern Illinois community, where the wide-ranging menu featured everything from crab cakes to flatbread pizzas to stuffed duck, Five Forks has gone out of business. The owners of this casual 15-year-old establishment posted a message on Facebook on Sept. 23, reading in part, “It is with a heavy heart that we announce the closing of Five Forks.” A week earlier, it had shut down temporarily after discovering that an employee may have been exposed to the coronavirus.

Source: Courtesy of La Sardine via Facebook

Illinois: La Sardine
> Location: Chicago

“After much thought and negotiation, it breaks our heart to announce that after 22 years, we will be permanently closing,” read a statement on this popular French bistro’s Instagram page in mid-August. Le Sardine’s founders, Jean-Claude and Susanne Poilevey, both died in recent years (Jean-Claude in 2016, his wife last year). Their son, Oliver, who had been running the place, told the Chicago Tribune, “A month, month and a half ago, I thought we were going to make it.”