No one likes to be the bearer of bad news; but bad news is what I have. Sorry. As you no doubt know, the hospitality industry is pretty much the worst affected of any industries out there right now. A report by Yelp suggests the shockwave of closures could be massive, currently running at more than 20% higher than typical seasonal trends.
With restaurant closures starting to mount one by one, the carnage wreaked by Covid-19 on the local dining scene will likely continue to grow. With that in mind, I wanted to etch out a permanent record of those businesses who’ve shuttered; if you check back in the coming weeks and months, I’ll keep the page updated.
Blue Plate Diner
Expected May 4th per this article.
The Ogden favorite was the first major closure of 2021 that we heard about. Here’s the story on FOX13.
Closed in November citing pressures from the pandemic. The closure followed on the heels of the 9th and 9th location leaving just one restaurant in the group by the end of November. Read more here.
The popular farmers market tamales option closed in November. With in person gatherings strained at best, and non functional at worst, the business was forced to call it quits. Read more here.
UPDATE: This business has since reported re-opening! The taco spot in SLC decided to close permanently during November. Read more here.
Leslie’s Family Tree
The Daily Herald reports on this closure here. After being in business for more than three decades, the Santaquin family restaurant couldn’t best the coronavirus.
Punch Bowl Social
One of the first to fall was this experiential mix of food and fun. The Cracker Barrel backed business was undergoing rapid expansion nationwide, including here in SLC at the Gateway; the food wasn’t half bad too, the less the said about my mini-bowling skills the better though. CB pulled the funding early on in the Covid-crisis and Punch Bowl failed to secure capital to keep the doors open. CEO Robert Thompson also recently departed the group too. The Gateway location in downtown SLC now lies dormant.
Looking across the chain sector, CPK recently filed for bankruptcy protection and Dunkin have began reconsidering their entire business model. Actually speaking of which…
National changes are afoot at this popular donut and coffee shop. The local impact saw the closure of the entire footprint of DD here in Utah. Those jonesing for the signature coffee now need to look to grocery store aisles.
Red Butte Cafe
After months of temporary closure the East side Red Butte Cafe recently announced the move would be permanent. As the mounting stress of extended closures starts to pummel businesses bottom lines, I’d expect to see more businesses trim down like this. Actually, that doesn’t seem to be it for this group.
I can’t find any formal confirmation of this, but Open Table lists Martine Cafe in downtown SLC as permanently closed; the businesses website also no longer works.
In silver lining news, sister businesses Desert Edge Pub and Stella (also part of the Pub Group with Red Butte/Martine) have confirmed their re-opening.
Mazza 9th and 9th
In a similarish tale to the above, the previous trio of Mazza restaurants has now shrank to two. Talking about the closure of the 9th and 9th location to the SLC Tribune, owner Ali Sabbeh, “in light of the current business atmosphere for restaurants and the reduction in demand, this was the best way to proceed.”
The Farmington based Mexican eatery, announced their closure on Facebook in June, “We regret to announce that due to the recent spread of COVID-19 and resulting shutdown we have been forced to close Tortilla Union at Station Park permanently. This crisis created a significant strain on our ability to operate the restaurant during the pandemic with the resulting loss of revenue, for which we have been left no choice.”
The tea shop – part of the same family of businesses as Seabird and La Barba, confirmed in April that the doors would be closed.
There’s been a myriad of businesses at this location on 21st South. The well rated 565 Firehouse preceded Jennifer Gilroy’s Elevo roll of the dice here, which too succumbed to the current pressures. The business closed down at the end of May. Tappo seeks to take over the mantle of this spot next.
Howdys Homemade Ice Cream
Three years into their journey, the popular ice cream store closed their doors in May.
Mollie and Ollie
The downtown healthy eats spot that offered wraps, salads and bowls no doubt struggled with the dramatic drop in downtown footfall. The business folded in April leaving behind fifteen displaced staff and a fundraiser to support them.
Over at West Jordan’s Gardner Village this bakery is now defunct.
After a 42 year run, this family run Italian spot closed their doors in July. Owner Joe Cannella spoke with the Tribune in detail about the loss of the business. The restaurant is survived by the sister business Fratelli over in Sandy, which recently moved into fancy new digs.
Gone for now, hopefully back later? The Irish themed pub and restaurant was taken over by the Lotus Company back in February this year but sadly failed to survive the stormy business climate of 2020. In early August the business took to Facebook stating “It is with heavy hearts that we must announce today will be our last day in operation for the foreseeable future. 2020 has dealt some tough blows, but we remain hopeful that we’ll all come out the other side even stronger. We’re serving all day and would love to pour you a pint and cheers to a brighter future!”.
With October, another month another loss. Chef Matt Lake’s much loved and much respected fine dining Mexican restaurant in downtown SLC closed. Here’s more on the closure.
Other businesses lost
These businesses weren’t necessarily affected directly by C19, but nonetheless we lost them too of late.
Koko Kitchen – A fire struck the popular Japanese home spun restaurant some time agi. No word yet on it’s return.
Cafe Anh Hong – A true gem of the SLC dining scene. The Cantonese classic was lost to rent disputes. A return was mooted but there has yet been no word of when or where.
Sampan – This long lived Sugarhouse spot was also caught up in rent wrangles. The business is expected to be replaced by the second opening of Pretty Bird. Sampan do not expect to return.
Trestle Tavern – Over in the 15th and 15th area, Scott Evans’ Euro-leaning spot was given the boot to make way for the return of Finca, also owned by Evans.
Hi, I’m Stuart, nice to meet you! I’m the founder, writer and wrangler at Gastronomic SLC; I’m also a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune. I’ve worked extensively with multiple local publications from Visit Salt Lake to Salt Lake Magazine, not least helped to consult on national TV shows.
I’m a multiple-award winning journalist and have covered the Utah dining scene for the better part of fifteen years. I’m largely fueled by a critical obsession with rice, alliteration and the use of big words I don’t understand. What they’re saying about me: “Not inaccurate”, “I thought he was older”, “I don’t share his feelings”. Want to know more? This is why I am the way I am.
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2 thoughts on “Covid closures, a running tally of the impact on the SLC food scene”
Can someone shed light on people’s love of Dunkin Donuts coffee? I tried their black coffee once and it tasted burnt and flavorless at the same time.
Yelp also says 60% of restaurants that closed for covid will not reopen.