Texas: Cafe Texan
> Location: Huntsville
This iconic 83-year-old establishment north of Houston, said to have been the oldest café in Texas still in its original location, is gone for good. Owner John Strickland told The Huntsville Item that he had remained closed for months out of concern for the health of his customers, many of whom were seniors, and his staff. However, he said, “I had not intended to close it permanently.” When he realized that that would be necessary, he sold the building, which will apparently be turned into a museum.
Virginia: Country Cookin
“Sold Out: All Locations Are Now Closed,” reads a message on the home page for this 13-unit Virginia cafeteria chain. In noting its demise, the News Virginian described the typical Country Cookin unit as “A community gathering place for lovers of low-cost buffet dining and where kids ate for free.” Oct. 17 was the chain’s last day in business. “The devastation to our communities, industry, employees and company resulting from the pandemic and mandated closures is heart-breaking,” wrote company president Tom Dodson on the chain’s social media platforms.
> Location: Seattle
Oct. 30 marked the end for this James Beard Award-winning restaurant, which the Seattle Times said “represented a movement in Seattle dining: talented, independent chefs expressing creativity and supporting local farmers.” Since COVID-19 hit, chef-owner Maria Hines told the publication, her business had dropped 70%. She added, though, that saving lives was more important than the shuttering of her establishment — an act she described as “downright trivial compared to a lot of the suffering people are going through.”
> Location: Bayfield
The description on the website of this casual eatery on the south shore of Lake Superior says: “Owner Mary H. Rice’s ode to flamingos, food and fun delivers the best of Bayfield’s fruits, vegetables and fresh fish to your table.” That’s no longer accurate, as the 40-year-old restaurant is now open only for takeout — and even that won’t last for much longer. On Oct. 20, Rice added a note to Maggie’s homepage that reads, “Moving through these uncertain times and with the daily changing industry landscape, on December 31st, 2020, the doors to Maggie’s will be closing permanently and I will be retiring from the restaurant world.”
Washington D.C.: Poca Madre
> Location: Washington D.C.
An innovative Mexican establishment launched in 2018 by chef Victor Albisu, owner of the Taco Bamba taquería chain in northern Virginia, Poca Madre reached the No. 6 slot on Washingtonian’s list of the area’s 100 best restaurants, and Washington Post critic Tom Sietsema named it one of his top ten favorites in 2019. Poca Madre — along with an adjacent Taco Bamba location — closed with the implementation of a dine-in ban in mid-March, theoretically for a limited period. According to Washingtonian, with tourism in the restaurant’s neighborhood down 53% and offices operating at only 5% capacity, Albisu has made the decision not to reopen either place.