Special Report

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

Source: Courtesy of Osteria Leana

New York: Osteria Leana
> Location: Oyster Bay

This “out-of-the-way gem” (per Newsday) in the Long Island town of Oyster Bay served its last meal on Dec. 26. Opened in 2016 by chef Peter Van Der Mije, who’d worked with such culinary luminaries as Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Marcus Samuelsson, the restaurant closed for several months when the pandemic hit, then reopened for takeout and tented outdoor seating. Business plummeted in November, though. “We went from a slow season into COVID season and then back to winter season, and that was extremely difficult,” Van Der Mije told Newsday, and by December he’d decided that covering the costs of maintaining the place was no longer realistic.

Source: Courtesy of Billy T via Yelp

New York: Sammy’s Roumanian
> Location: New York City

This 47-year-old Romanian Jewish restaurant, an iconic establishment on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, posted a message on its Instagram page on Jan. 3 reading in part: “It is with great sadness that we announce that the rumors are true and we have had to shut the doors.” Owner David Zimmerman told Gothamist that he plans to reopen the place in another location at some undetermined point in the future, adding in a text message that “We can’t wait and hope to see everyone enjoying latkes, vodka, chopped liver and steaks once again.”

Source: Courtesy of OTTO Enoteca e Pizzeria (New York) via Facebook

New York: Otto
> Location: New York City

In 2003, at the height of his pre-scandal fame as a celebrity chef-restaurateur, Mario Batali opened this Greenwich Village pizzeria-cum-wine bar in partnership with his associate Joe Bastianich. Business reportedly declined, here as at other Batali-Bastianich enterprises, after Batali was accused of sexual harassment and other offenses in 2017. When the pandemic hit earlier this year, Otto closed temporarily, then reopened with a limited takeout menu. While Bastianich has issued no official statement on the closure, a representative of the building’s owners told Grub Street in early November that the space was available to rent.

New York: Baohaus
> Location: New York City

This modest Taiwanese restaurant, known for its fried chicken and pork buns, launched the career of chef Eddie Huang — who went on to write a best-selling memoir, “Fresh Off the Boat,” which in turn became an ABC-TV sitcom running for six seasons. That didn’t ultimately help the restaurant. Posting on Instagram in early October, Huang said, “We held out as long as we could, but have decided to close.” While Huang didn’t specifically mention COVID-19, the owner of a neighboring convenience store painted a dark picture of the local business climate to Spectrum News NY1. “There is no future,” he said. Speaking of potential customers, he added, “I don’t think they are going to come back until January, maybe.” Huang is now directing a movie, “Boogie,” about a Chinese-American basketball player in New York City.

Source: Courtesy of Rick D. via Yelp

North Carolina: Ye Olde Waffle Shoppe
> Location: Chapel Hill

Opened in 1972, this unpretentious diner has served breakfast and lunch — waffles, of course, as well as pancakes, omelettes, burgers, sandwiches, and the like — to generations of University of North Carolina students and staff as well as the Chapel Hill community at large. A message posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page on Dec. 1 read in part, “After much consideration, we have decided to close Ye Olde Waffle Shoppe,” adding that “from a public health perspective and due to the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, it is the right choice for us.”

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