The pandemic has affected all parts of life in NYC, and small businesses, especially restaurants, have suffered greatly.
Even with opportunity for revenue with takeout, outdoor dining in June, and indoor dining reopening at the end of September, the city has still sadly experienced a great loss with many eateries and gathering spots forced to permanently close due to lack of business.
Though this list is heartbreaking to read, it only encompasses a small percentage of how many restaurants have closed for good — Eater NY has reported on 150 and the New York Times estimates it closer to 1,000.
We won’t forget them:
The East Village bodega/candy shop Gem Spa, which was famously known for its egg cream drinks, shut for good in May. The owners said: “Coronavirus concerns closed our city, cratered businesses, and ultimately sealed the fate of our (close to) 100-year-old shop.”
Where: 131 2nd Ave
This iconic saloon was located on 153 First Ave. (between 9th St. and 10th St.) for nearly 28 years. It became especially famous after a movie about the establishment (with the same name) came out in 2000. Owner Lil Lovell said “We have been shuttered for six months in accordance with New York State Covid-19 restrictions and simply cannot continue to pay the rent.” EV Grieve reported that it would be moving not too far — to 14th Street between Second Avenue and Third Avenue — but that hasn’t been officially confirmed yet.
Where: 153 1st Avenue
This Greenwich Village bar was a hotspot for literary legends like Ernest Hemingway and J.D. Salinger back in the day, and it will not be reopening after the pandemic. Chumley’s, located at 86 Bedford St., is sadly permanently closing, as reported by Untapped Cities. Though it doesn’t appear that the restaurant has made a statement (their website still says “temporary closed”), Untapped Cities discovered an auctioning website that was selling off most of the interior goods and confirmed the historic bar would not be returning.
Where: 86 Bedford St.
This 20-year old SoHo establishment was long considered one of the city’s go-to dining destinations for seafood, with an oyster bar that featured 25 varieties daily. But when the city went into PAUSE at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Aquagrill closed its doors along many others. Owners Jennifer & Jeremy Marshall said: “We’re honored that so many of you have grown with us and made us a part of your lives, and will miss you deeply. 12 MILLION oysters shucked, so please don’t ever forget, Eat Oysters – LOVE Longer!”
Where: 210 Spring St.
Keith McNally, the restaurateur behind NYC French brasserie favorites like Balthazar and Augustine, announced in April that his Soho bistro Lucky Strike would not reopen. McNally put up a very candid post on Instagram sharing the news: “Sadly, I had to close Lucky Strike for good yesterday after 31 years. Greedy landlord during lockdown syndrome.”
Where: 59 Grand St.
As you can probably tell from its name, The Mermaid Inn was a seafood restaurant, known for its affordability and oyster happy hour deals. Their main East Village location shuttered after 17 years, though its other locations will remain open…for now. Owners Daniel Abrams and Cindy Smith shared the news with Eater, even writing a three-page letter detailing exactly why they had to close.
Where: 96 2nd Ave
Though this hasn’t been 100% confirmed yet, evidence is not looking good. Ellen’s Stardust Diner in Times Square, known for its Broadway-aspiring employees who belt out numbers in between serving classic diner dishes, may be closing down permanently. According to multiple news outlets, including NBC 4 New York, there has been a notice posted on the restaurant’s door that states the establishment owed its landlord over $618,000 in rent.
Where: 1650 Broadway
Nolita just lost an all-time favorite. Uncle Boons, a restaurant that offered new twists on traditional Thai cuisine—and was especially known for its amazing coconut sundae with peanuts—has closed for good. The eatery was an extremely popular spot at 7 Spring St., and was opened in 2013 by restaurateur and chef couple Ann Redding and Matt Danzer. Luckily they are still serving their famous ice cream sundae at their sister restaurant, Thai Diner at 186 Mott St.
Where: 7 Spring St.
This Irish pub opened in 1985 and was known for being a welcoming space for a melting pot of customers. A heartfelt goodbye in The New York Times wrote said it “became an Irish place where the bartenders were Dominican-Americans and the waiters African-American and the customers, all of the above and more.” Coogan’s “pulsed with the heartbeat of the world. It shut its doors because of the virus lockdown, and now they won’t reopen.”
Where: 4015 Broadway
Mission Chinese, which originally began in San Francisco, was known for its creative takes on Sichuan-inspired “classics” and its high-energy atmosphere. Chef/owner Danny Bowien posted a heartfelt message on Instagram on Thursday, September 17, citing the particular difficulties restaurants have encountered during the pandemic: “We faced the difficult decision as a business to battle through adversity in hopes of outside support we know may not come, or to create a business model that forges a new path for survival on our terms. We at Mission are choosing the new path. As part of this difficult decision, we will be closing mission’s East Broadway location at the end of September…We want to thank all of our employees, past and present, for the hard work and dedication they have put into creating the unforgettable experience that is Mission.”
Where: 171 E Broadway
11. Fedora, West Village
Though it passed through different owners, Fedora had been a mainstay in the West Village for over 60 years. In more recent years the narrow bistro served elevated cocktails and high-end new American bites, but before that is was an Italian mainstay owned by the same couple since 1952.
Where: 239 West 4th St.
12. Maison Premiere, Williamsburg
This Williamsburg oyster bar won a James Beard award and was met with rave reviews, but apparently the owners incurred lots of debt. Their sister restaurant Sauvage appears to be in the same position, according to Eater NY.
Where: 298 Bedford Ave, Brooklyn
13. China Chalet, FiDi
China Chalet was a Fidi staple since 1975, feeding office workers for business lunches and becoming a late-night hangout spot for NYU students more recently. After 35 years, the city is saying goodbye, according to Eater NY.
Where: 47 Broadway
14. Good Stuff Diner, Chelsea
This go-to diner in Chelsea was one of the few 24-hour eateries left in the city, but sadly has closed down due to a note on its door that said the landlord was unwilling to compromise on rent (according to social media posts).
Where: 109 W 14th St.
15. Egg, Williamsburg
This weekend (Sept. 27) marks the final days for Egg, a favorite breakfast spot in Brooklyn that has been in the neighborhood for 15 years. The owners wrote on Instagram, “Our next transformation is going to be profound. It’s going to take a lot of work and faith and patience. The restaurant industry at large is in a moment of both existential crisis and moral reckoning. We want to see it through, but we can’t keep going on the way we’ve been going and survive,” and said they are going to take the next few months to reflect on their next move.
Where: 109 N 3rd St., Brooklyn
16. Sushi Yasu, Forest Hills
This sushi spot was a mainstay in Forest Hill for over 16 years, but is now closed for good, according to Yelp.
Where: 70-11 Austin St, Forest Hill
17. Adelina’s, Greenpoint
Local site Greenpointers reported that Italian spot Adelina’s would close permanently after eight years in the neighborhood. It served fully vegetarian and vegan fare, along with natural wines, and owners also said their landlords weren’t willing to be flexible.
Where: 159 Greenpoint Ave, Brooklyn
18. Ninth Avenue Saloon, Hell’s Kitchen
One of the oldest LBGT+ bars in NYC closed down for good in July, according to social media sources. A true loss to the neighborhood, and the city as a whole.
Where: 656 9th Ave
19. Ipanema, Midtown/Little Brazil
Ipanema was the heart of Midtown’s “Little Brazil,” serving up cultural classics for over 40 years. Still, hopefully it will not be gone forever. In the restaurant’s announcement on Instagram, the owners said they would be soon sharing a new location for the restaurant.
Where: 43 W 46th St.
20. Hop Shing, Chinatown
Chinatown was hit especially hard due to the pandemic, and that can definitely be seen in closings like popular dim sum spot Hop Shing.
Where: 9 Chatham Square
featured image source: Yelp / Ruwan J.