Three years after New York’s first indoor dining shutdown, restaurants continue to close due to the lasting financial impacts of the pandemic. At least 4,500 food businesses have shuttered since March 2020. Since it’s difficult to track closings in real-time, experts say that number is likely much higher — and could take years to fully assess.
In this weekly column, Eater is documenting the city’s permanent restaurant and bar closures, a list that includes one of Brooklyn’s top Mexican restaurants, a decades-old bar in Manhattan, and a Greek restaurant with deep roots in Tribeca. If a restaurant or bar has closed in your neighborhood, let us know at [email protected].
Bushwick: Little Skips, a small chain of coffee shops in Brooklyn, closes its last location this week. “The past few years in business & life have been the most challenging I’ve ever experienced,” owner Linda Thach said on Instagram. Thach opened her first coffee shop in Bushwick in 2008. She opened five more, but things took a turn in recent years: The original shop shuttered in 2019 due to a rent increase, and an outpost in Prospect Lefferts Gardens followed last month. The last Little Skips, at 1643 Broadway and Hudson Boulevard, in Bushwick, closed on September 17.
Corona: Rincón Criollo, a family-owned Cuban restaurant in Queens, closed on September 21. The restaurant was open on Junction Boulevard since 1976, originally under the brothers Jesus Rene and Rodobaldo Acosta; Eater’s critic once called it “the best Cuban restaurant in town.” Esther and Rudy Acosta, who took over the restaurant from their great uncles in 2011, say they “never fully recovered from COVID.” The decades-old restaurant was limited to takeout for most of the pandemic and the outdoor setup consisted of a single table; according to the Acostas, their rent was increasing later this year. The family hopes to reopen in Long Island, where they opened a second restaurant in 2015.
East Village: A Manhattan dive bar shutters this week after two decades. B-Side closed back in June after a fire from an air conditioning unit in the bar damaged the building and its three upstairs apartments, the website EV Grieve reports. The bar’s owners now say their landlord has terminated their lease: “The ownership and managing party for the building have expressed that it’s in their family’s best interest to sever ties.”
East Village: It was a short run for Buka in Manhattan. The Nigerian restaurant, whose original location opened in Clinton Hill in 2010, expanded with a second restaurant last October. It’s been closed since June, according to EV Grieve, and a “for lease” sign now hangs on the front door. In Brooklyn, the restaurant has since relocated to a larger storefront in Bed-Stuy that lives on; its fish pepper soup was one of Eater critic Robert Sietsema’s favorite dishes last year.
Lower East Side: A whisky bar that handed out free peanuts closed after 23 years in Manhattan. The Whiskey Ward did not provide a reason for the closure but said in a statement on Instagram that “all good things must come to an end.” The bar was known for its long lists of scotch, bourbons, and whiskies. The last day was September 15.
Bushwick: Newyorktitlan, the charming pancakes and chilaquiles spot from Julio Jiménez, is closed after about a six-year run. When first conceptualized in 2016, the restaurant offered bagels and salads — inherited from a past owner — before coming into its own. Over the years, Jiménez worked back and front-of-house for places like Wylie Dufresne’s Wd~50 and several Major Food Group restaurants, and continued in service in tandem with running his own spot. This spring he lamented the struggle, telling Eater: “Will we be here in a year? I’m not sure.” It’s been marked permanently closed on Google and Yelp.
Chinatown: Owner Mei Leung has retired after 25 years of running this Chinatown rice roll cart, sometimes called Mei Cart. Throughout more than two decades, the stall had been operating at 153 Centre Street, near Canal Street, where, at one point, it served rice rolls for $1.
Clinton Hill: After 14 years, Pilar Cuban Eatery closed on August 27, though its neighboring bakery will remain open and will weave in dishes from the restaurant. Fans, take note: The owners say they’re opening a spot in Industry City by the end of the year.
Cobble Hill: Open since 2020, the HiHi Room closed earlier this month in Cobble Hill. “We hope we’ve provided you with the refuge and comfort that you’ve provided us with these last few years,” the team wrote in its Instagram announcement. The restaurant was the first full-service establishment from the team behind the popular chain of New York sandwich shops, Court Street Grocers. They also own S&P luncheonette in Manhattan.
Fidi: Seeds and Weeds in the Tin Building has closed to become a second location of Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s abcV.
Greenpoint: After 14 years, Cup Coffee has shuttered in Greenpoint. Its last day of operation was August 30. “ Unfortunately, COVID hit us pretty hard, and like many other small businesses, we never quite recovered,” the owner told Greenpointers.
Greenpoint: Vegan pizzeria Screamer’s has closed its Greenpoint location. “The lease is up and we’ve had an awesome landlord, but the party has to end eventually,” the restaurant told Greenpointers.
Greenwich Village: Quality Eats, the Greenwich Village steakhouse from the owners of Bad Roman and Smith & Wollensky, has closed after eight years. “We have a lot in the works for the upcoming year and wanted to put our energy into focusing on those projects,” Michael Stillman, the restaurant’s owner, said in a statement.
Jamaica: Queens Lanka, a counter-service Sri Lankan restaurant, has shut down after just one year. John Harold Ranjith Epasinghe, one of the restaurant’s partners, was leasing the space to Rasika Wetthasinghe and Suchira Wijayarathne; he has since pulled out of the business and disputes that he was ever a co-owner, according to Wetthasinghe. The restaurant was known for its lamprais, a Sri Lankan dish made by steaming rice, curry, and other foods into a banana leaf. — Caroline Shin, contributor
Nomad: Palpal, a Korean tapas spot with an open kitchen from the prolific Hand Hospitality has closed after about a year.
Prospect-Lefferts Gardens: Seafood and soul food spot in the neighborhood for six years, Black Nile has closed its standalone location and has become a food truck. “While we expanded to the Flatbush location in hopes that it would serve as a flagship and anchor to our mobile business goals, we did not plan on having to give the location up completely,” the owners wrote on its website.
Sunnyside: After a 15-year run, Arriba Arriba, is no more. “The establishment has a reputation for its sprightly atmosphere, live sports screenings and live music including karaoke,” Queenspost reported.
Upper West Side: Yakitori Sun Chan is done in Manhattan, with a “for sale” sign in the window. The restaurant apparently had health department violations, closed briefly earlier this year, reopened in February, and then permanently closed again.2023-09-15T14:37:17Z dg43tfdfdgfd