Reports swirling social media over the past twenty four hours seem to suggest that the long lived Restaurant Morelia (6098 State Street) in Murray have now locked the doors for the last time. Online commenters across a variety of platforms write that Thursday, November 10th was the final day for the business, named after the city in Michoacan. In contrast to the recent closure of Hector’s in Millcreek, that saw hours long lines of cars swing by for one last bite – Morelia appeared to close with no formal announcement in advance.
Back in 2020 the Trib ran this story on the long lived Mexican eatery that faced a sales contraction of some 40% in the face of a sweeping pandemic. A combination of social media buzz and a pivot towards takeout sales, meant the restaurant of more than 33 years experienced an initial sales flip. Interviewed by the Trib, owner David Gonzalez reported long days and late hours in order to keep up with the surge in business, selling out on a daily basis. Gonzalez reported a quadrupling of sales.
With more than three different decades under their belt Morelia had a legion of local fans, not least one of the favorite destinations for one Larry H. Miller who worked just down the road (according to this Reddit thread); the restaurant menu featured a “Larry Miller’s Combo” dedicated to their notable patron right until the end. The combo in question? Not for the faint of heart: “2 cheese enchiladas, 2 hard shell ground beef tacos, and a bean tostada.”
Back in 2001, the Deseret News Stephanie Tanner-Brown summed up what brought those fans back time and again writing, “Morelia’s makes it so darn easy to take your family. The kids platters are generous and cheap. There’s more food and more nutrition than any Happy Combo your local drive-thru can churn out. They also serve your order fast enough that even if your crew is stark-raving mad with hunger, they’ll make it ’til the plates arrive. And, the servers attend to things that make a huge difference when you’re out with kids, such as lidded cups that aren’t too tall.”
The closure of Restaurant Morelia comes amidst recent news of the loss of Hector’s Mexican Food in Millcreek and Taqueria Los Lee in South Salt Lake. As I wrote about in this story late last year, a variety of factors from staffing to wages to inflation look set to continue to pressure the small restaurant sector for some time yet.
At the time of writing the business themselves do not appear to have formally announced their closure; but from the slew of online commiserations from patrons (and other small business like East Coast Subs here) it does look likely that this is one more business to add to the list of business closures in 2022. I’ll update the story as I hear more.
Image credit, Restaurant Morelia.
Hi, I’m Stuart, nice to meet you! I’m the founder, writer and wrangler at Gastronomic SLC. I’m a multiple-award winning journalist and have written in myopic detail about the Salt Lake City dining scene for the better part of seventeen years.
I’ve worked extensively with multiple local publications from Visit Salt Lake to Salt Lake Magazine, not least helped to consult on national TV. Pause those credits, yep, that’s me! I’m also a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune. 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”.
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