Special Report

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

Source: Emma McIntyre / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

California: Trois Mec
> Location: Los Angeles

According to the New York Times, the proprietors of this hole-in-the-wall tasting-menu restaurant — French chef Ludo Lefebvre and his American colleagues Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo (of the popular Animal and Son of a Gun) — “are surely among the most influential restaurateurs” in L.A. Unfortunately, neither their prominence nor their Michelin star helped them survive the pandemic. “Covid-19 has changed everything,” Lefebvre wrote on his Instagram page, adding, “I had to accept the reality that it was time to let the idea of reopening Trois Mec go.”

Source: Courtesy of Español Italian via Facebook

California: Español Italian
> Location: Sacramento

Español Italian Restaurant — the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the state capital, opened in 1923 — has announced that it has permanently ceased operations. Originally, the dining room at the Hotel Español, or Spanish Hotel, was known for Basque food. When the Luigi family bought it in 1959, they switched to Italian fare, moving the place to its current location in 1965. Looking at the books in early July last year, co-owner Perry Luigi told Valley Community Newspapers, he “kind of made the decision that we can’t stay open another month or everything will be gone.”

Source: Courtesy of Zaidy's Deli / Facebook

Colorado: Zaidy’s Deli
> Location: Denver

Opened in 1992 in Denver’s Cherry Creek neighborhood, Zaidy’s became a go-to place for Reuben sandwiches and other classic deli fare. In announcing that it is now “closing its doors indefinitely,” a statement from the owners on the deli website explained that they had “made the decision to stop compromising the integrity and quality of our renowned Jewish comfort food in order to stay open, no matter how much we wish we could.”

Source: Courtesy of Palma Maria Restaurant

Florida: Palma Maria
> Location: Casselberry

This family-owned Italian classic, which opened in 1981 in Casselberry, northeast of Orlando, was a descendent of an earlier restaurant run by the same family for 35 years in Tamaqua, Pennsylvania. The place closed temporarily on Jan. 4 following the death of co-owner Peter Rosinola Jr., and on Jan. 18, the family announced that the closure would be permanent. In addition to Rosinola’s demise, according to Scott Joseph’s Orlando Restaurant Guide, sources close to the restaurant said that the hardships imposed by COVID-19 contributed to the decision.

Source: Courtesy of Leonardo's By The Slice

Florida: Leonardo’s by the Slice
> Location: Gainesville

An essential pizza stop for decades for students from the nearby University of Florida, the 47-year-old Leonardo’s went out of business on Dec. 16. It would have closed in 2021 anyway — the university bought the property in 2016 as part of the site for a new $55 million music school — but its lease ran through July 2021. COVID-19 made staying open that long impossible. “The pandemic led to a financial burden that we couldn’t withstand,” co-owner Brian Johnson told The Gainesville Sun. The pizzeria was opened the same year as another local restaurant, originally under the same ownership, called Leonardo’s 706. That place closed in August.

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