Murray’s Restaurant Morelia closes after three decades in business

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.”

Sign posted at Restaurant Morelia
Sign posted at Restaurant Morelia (Reddit, dreneeps)

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.



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32 thoughts on “Murray’s Restaurant Morelia closes after three decades in business”

  1. You can drive into Restaurant Morelia’s parking lot and read the sign that says this:

    RESTAURANT MORELIA
    IS NOW PERMANENTLY CLOSED!
    THANK YOU FOR 33
    YEARS OF LOYALTY!!

    We are so sad, but we know David, and he deserves to kick back and relax and enjoy family time. I for one will cry whenever I drive pass there again, knowing our very favorite Mexican restaurant has permanently closed their doors. We have enjoyed it for 32 of the 33 years they were in business.🥲❤️ Best of luck David, and God Bless🙏

  2. Thanks Carolyn, I’m a little under the weather today so couldn’t head out myself to take a picture. Appreciate you sending that info our way!

  3. Went there with Larry H Miller and my dad years ago and it remand our family favorite. Every time I visit UT, I would have to stop by and eat my favorite chimichanga. Still haven’t found one to compare. I alway have a beet with my Mexican food at home. Thanks to David and his family for the best food over 25 years!

  4. Went there with my family for years after Larry H Miller and my dad would eat there together. It was always my family’s favorite I always stop by when I visited UT. Best chimichanga ever and you introduced me to my love of guacamole. I still to this day put a beet on my plate when I cook chimichangas at home. Thanks for my 25 year experience at your restaurant. It was fun to watch your family grow up with mine.

  5. We have been going there for several years. We will miss everything about Morelia. We made so many memories there celebrating. Thanks David and the crew for your hard work and dedication. We hope that you are able to kick back and relax!!! Thanks for everything.

  6. My husband and I are so sad, by far one of our most favorite restaurants of all time. We went there with our kids, and we took our grandsons all the time. I don’t know if we will every have Chilli Verde as good as there’s again. We feel we lost a friend. Thanks for all the good memories.

  7. I ate there with family a few weeks ago and had not been there for years. It was pouring rain outside and all of the sudden water started dripping on our table right where My food was going to be placed! The ceiling was leaking! We moved our table as far as we could so that I would not get water in my food. the food was good, but then with our table move, my father in law was getting a few drips on his head and shoulder. I think the building was older and in need of repair. I am wondering if this contributed to the closure.

  8. Dang it! I really liked this place! I wish I would have known, so I could get 1 more plate of cheese enchiladas with rice and beans (maybe 2!), to go.

    Sad. 🥀

    I wish the best to the owners and all those who worked there.

  9. David, your family has been a great addition to this hard world , you always had a happy greeting, it’s been a honor to eat at this great restaurant, I’ve been eating in this building since before Morelia I remember eating 1/2 chickens and hamburgers club sandwiches, the building even is special! Enjoy your vacation life !

  10. David & Laura, we just got back in town last night. This morning the phone rang at 6:56 am. We first thought something was wrong with a family member. Then we got the news. 3 of our family members have called to let us know about the closing. Yes we are devastated! You are the best!! But…you deserve the best life can offer at this point!! Thanks for being part of our lives. And thank you for being so good to all of us! Your truly an example of the golden rule. We will miss you!

  11. Introduced to Morelias 25+years ago. Have gone there so often and over the years we have become friends. The same people cooking and greeting us for that time. Best of luck in all you do David and family! We will miss your yummy food! Recipe book in the works?

  12. I can’t believe they are gone. There will never be another Mexican restaurant to compare to them. It was always a great night when our family went there. My 91 year old parents are beyond sad. Best of luck to all of you. Anyone have a good recommendation of good Mexican food now?

  13. So sad to hear of the closure. We have been going there for 25 years and loved the early days when David and the whole family were working and serving on Friday evenings. Not sure where I am going to get my Laura Special or Dave’s Burrito in the future. All the best to David and Laura for providing a great family environment!

  14. This is a very sad day. I took our daughter there in an infant seat when they opened, almost 34 years ago. When she brought her first baby into the restaurant, David came from behind the kitchen and said he wanted to meet the next generation. It’s fitting that Morelia’s was where she and her husband went for their first date. Thank you to David and family for always welcoming us with a smile and a wave and for consistently wonderful food. The Park and Stewart families will miss you!

  15. Thanks for the great food, great company, and great times, David! We’ll miss your smiling face and your kind greetings. You created something to be proud of!

  16. I am so sad to think I can’t ever go to Morelias again. We have never tasted the same food anywhere. I will miss David sr. n David jr. and all the other family members that made my life easier cooking there heart out. I love you all and will miss you terribly.

  17. My family and I have been going to Restaurant Morelia’s for many years. I remember going there before my kids were born, so over 17 plus years now! This was our FAVORITE place to eat and we loved everyone who worked there, especially David, who always had a smile and a greeting, whenever we stopped by. It is a great shock and a great sadness that the doors are closed forever, but I do wish you all luck and a happy life!!! If you ever think of reopening your doors, please let me know and I’ll be first in line!!! Thank you for over 33 years of service!

  18. We are so said you want to retire. My whole family and lots of our friends love you and Laura! You will be missed. What will we eat now? We are in the large group of 30 Years of our No.1 place to eat. We moved from Murray to Pleasant Grove and it didn’t stop us from eating there.We will miss you all! Hope new great things come along for your family including reopening!! Love you all and blessing will come to you! I would love a recipe book!!!

  19. I will never forget Morelias! Best food and fun for over 30 years! So many memories with family and friends while my daughters were growing up! Morelias is like family and will never be forgotten. Thank you for the wonderful food and memories! 🦋

  20. David was always so good to us when we visited! I remember he came out to talk to us and tell our 33 year old how he remembered her at my granddaughter’s age. She’s 3. Lol Wow now that’s service!! Always received a hello whenever we walked in and goodbye as we left, all while behind the grill! And then there’s Juan our regular server. The sweetest and always the same greeting from him even if he wasn’t our server! We will miss them all! Thank you for all the amazing food! Good luck on your new journey!! PS I now have to go back to making hard shell tacos as there are none like it unless I make them… lol

  21. I wish I had known sooner, I would have come in one more time. Morelia’s was our favorite! The owners were so sweet with my inlaws who used to dine at Morelia’s every Thursday for years before they passed on. Morelia’s sent a beautiful wreath to our Mother’s funeral. You don’t commonly find “family” at your favorite restaurant! But we did at Morelia’s. Congratulations on retirement. Our best wishes coming your way.

  22. DAVID & STAFF.
    So glad I was able to bring my parents there 1 last time 85 & 89 Jerry & Sharlene Anderson. David came around from the kitchen counter just to hug us. As always he would graciously give us nacho, pre pandemic & then sopapillas post pandemic. What a stand up guy. We are older now & time to move on I guess. We wish you , your crew & your family all the best!! Too bad you didn’t sale. The name, food & the legacy is a hard to pass on, duplicate ot trust. I am sure it’s as hard on you as it is for us, all your patrons & these real people commenting here.
    Again, we wish you well.
    Take care,
    The Anderson & Larsen families.

  23. Imagine my horror when I drove up to the restaurant on Friday. I read the sign and sat in my car in disbelief! I actually cried as I texted my whole family of the closure.
    As much as we have loved the Resturant, we have loved all the staff just as much.
    We will miss all of you!
    Much love and appreciation,
    Steve and Lisa Henderson

  24. Dave, family and employees, We are very sad that you have closed your great restaurant! We have been coming there since the year you opened. Our children and grand children have loved your delicious food too! May you relax and enjoy time your family. Best chili verde ever!!!!

  25. Dave family and crew, we are very sad you closed your restaurant. We have been coming since the year you opened. Our children and grandchildren love your delicious food. May you relax and enjoy time with your family. Best chili verde ever!

  26. This is pretty sad news. Chef Gonzalez cooked for the El Farol restaurant in Midvale years before he opened his own restaurant, Restaurant Morelia. We fallowed him over to his new restaurant and it has been a family favorite. When father Gonzalez decided to retire we were so thankful when his son David took the restaurant on and became head chef to keep the family’s special recipes cooking for us all to enjoy. Even relatives from out of town would always want to go there when they came to visit us. Trough the years the Gonzalez’s have become more than just a restaurant we would frequent, they became family friends. Thank you David, Laura, Rosa and Juan for all of your years of service. You will be missed.

  27. Dear David Laura and Family–including all the wonderful staff of Restaurant Morelia,

    Thank you for the many years of delicious food, warm greetings and good times! You will all always hold a special place in our hearts!
    David you are an inspiration and a wonderful person. You have worked so hard your entire life. I remember you working along side your father at El Farol since you were a young teen. It is an honor to know you. My father Eliseo loved you and your family very much. Thank you for all the kindness and generosity you provided us through the years.

    God bless you all and hope you will finally get the rest and relaxation you truly deserve!
    With love,
    Ninette Martinez

  28. Restaurant Morelia has been our Families favorite restaurant for over 28 years. The owners and staff meant a lot to us and this is an irreplaceable loss.

    If you ever offer meals, recipes or salsa outside of the restaurant, will you please let me know? Otherwise, rest well and enjoy life to the fullest. You deserve the best for creating so many amazing memories for all of us.

    Much Love, Tony Reece

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