Special Report

Most Popular Restaurants That Won't Reopen After the Pandemic

Source: Courtesy of Gator's Cafe / Facebook

Florida: Gator’s Cafe
> Location: Treasure Island

This 30-year-old waterfront restaurant and sports bar in the John’s Pass Village and Boardwalk complex southwest of Tampa — known for its collection of Florida Gators memorabilia — has been closed since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March. Now it has called it quits for good, announcing on its Facebook page in mid-October that “With a heavy heart, we deliver the news that Gator’s Cafe will not be reopening.”

Source: Courtesy of Bill W. via Yelp

Georgia: Kouzina Christos
> Location: Atlanta

Opened by Greek immigrants John and Maria Giannes in 1979 and more recently run by their son Christos, this well-liked East Cobb area establishment, which has occupied three different locations over the years, closed on Dec. 5. The younger Giannes wrote on Facebook, “I have decided to curtail talks with landlord over options to remain operational,” adding, “My heart goes out to the independent operators, their staffs and their families, struggling to navigate the unknown and unpredictable course of Covid-19.”

Source: Courtesy of Amanda W. via Yelp

Illinois: Tutto Italiano
> Location: Chicago

Known for its casual but authentic Italian cuisine and its unusual train-car dining room, this 27-year old establishment served its last meal at the end of December. Owners Val and Sonny Dervishi wrote on the restaurant Facebook page on Dec. 18 that they were “devastated,” but although they survived “the dot com bubble, 9/11, and the 2008 housing and financial crisis,” the pandemic “has brought us beyond the point of not being able to meet our obligations.”

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 Blackbird via Facebook

Illinois: Blackbird
> Location: Chicago

This well-loved West Loop restaurant — hailed by the Chicago Tribune as “one of Chicago’s greatest restaurants” — was opened 23 years ago by Paul Kahan, who has since become one of the city’s best-known chef-restaurateurs. (His other places include Avec, Publican, and Big Star). Blackbird’s intimate size and layout made social distancing impossible, and the restaurant announced on its website that “we have made the very difficult decision to close our doors.”