Covid-19-Related Bay Area Restaurant Permanent Closures in June and July (so far)

With mounting financial burdens, Bay Area restaurants are forced to close permanently.  (Christopher Annis)

As the state of California rolls back into stricter shelter-in-place measures at the order of Gov. Gavin Newsom, restaurants and bars that were re-opening for dining for the first time in months are once again forced to close. The governor’s orders come after significant spike in cases across the state with seven of the Bay Area’s nine counties on a monitoring list facing stricter measures for re-opening. As bars and restaurants are forced to grapple with these new measures that limit capacity and services, many have had no choice but to close their business over the last four months of the pandemic. Here are some of the significant closures from June and July across the Bay Area:

Louis’

The 83-year-old restaurant in San Francisco’s Lands End area is closing its doors permanently after what owners Bill and Tom Hountlas say was “much deliberation and a lot of tears.”

“To wait out this pandemic was financially unreasonable,” the brothers wrote in a Facebook post Monday night adding that it has not been safe for their staff to return to the restaurant for indoor dining. The Hountlas’ took over the restaurant from their parents who leased the sea-view diner from the Sutro family. For the last 45 years, the family had partnered with the National Park Service who purchased the charming diner and the surrounding land in 1973.

Cafe Ohlone

Louis Trevino and Vincent Medina of Cafe Ohlone were in the midst of re-imagining the future of their pop-up dinner at the onset of the pandemic. The duo’s deliberate and inventive approach to celebrating and reviving the culinary traditions of the East Bay’s Indigenous people will take new shape as the space they hosted their dinners at, University Press Books, is closing permanently. The book store had long struggled to pay its steep $10,000 a month lease though not for lack of trying. The owners, William and Karen McClung, have sold the building, created an investment group, and opened a cafe next door. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Trevino and Medina are planning to roll out a monthly box that features “slow, intentional and curated” Ohlone meals.

Sponsored

Ichi Sushi

First reported by Tablehopper, owners and chefs Tim and Erin Archuleta made the announcement in late June citing the path to reopening is distant and unclear. “Thank you for making us the sushi bar you trusted and created memories in, and to all the team members through the years who made ICHI such a special place to work,” the couple wrote on the restaurant's Instagram. The two also added they intend to sell the Bernal Heights restaurant to the right taker who can continue the traditions they set for the neighborhood spot.

Nopalito on 9th Street

Chef-owner Gonzalo Guzman’s Sunset outpost of critically-beloved Nopalito shuttered in late June. The popular Mexican restaurant on 9th Avenue had been open for eight years before its closing and will be outlived by Guzman’s smaller, original eatery on Broderick Street. According to the restaurant’s Instagram, Guzman hopes to open a take-out window this month on 18th Street for simple take-out offerings for folks who might take their meals to the nearby Dolores Park.

Beachside Coffee Bar and Kitchen

Ocean Beach adjacent Beachside Coffee Bar and Kitchen has permanently closed after nine years of operation. Reported first by Hoodline last week, the cafe and restaurant closed in June. “This pandemic has been difficult for many small businesses, us included,” wrote owner James Kelliher on the business’ Instagram account. Kelliher also owns Judahlicious Juice not too far from Beachside on Judah Street.

Liba Falafel

Liba Falafel, a popular lunch destination for the work crowd in downtown Oakland, has closed its doors after 11 years in business. Originally starting as a food truck, Liba’s owner Gail Lillian went through several iterations of her mobile business before settling into a brick-and-mortar location on 17th Street in Oakland. “[Over] the last two weeks of being open, we've lost thousands of dollars and I realize I am not actually comfortable going into debt all over again,” wrote Lillian on her restaurant’s Instagram account adding that she just finished paying off Liba’s start-up debts last year. Though in her own words she’s “heartbroken” to shutter the business, Lillian told Eater SF’s Luke Tsai debt makes it so “there is no great sense of liberation with owning a restaurant in the first place.” Lillian plans to focus on her small-business consulting business while also keeping up with her cookie decorating side-hustle.

Velvet Cantina

The 14-year-old Mission restaurant closed after attempts to raise funds on GoFundMe to keep the doors open. When the lease ended, according to an Eater SF report, owner Matt Tognazzini decided not to renew.