Beloved restaurants that disappeared in 2020

In the long list of things that 2020 has taken away from us, there may not be any area of ​​the economy that has suffered as much as the food and service industry. As companies that are already sensitive to subtle changes, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected everything from small, locally adored cafes to large, beloved national networks – with many whose temporary closings are becoming permanent.

According to the National Restaurant Association, more than 110,000 restaurants closed in 2020, with many others facing uncertainties as the winter weather makes dining outdoors and reducing sales impossible. Here are some of the beloved companies that have already disappeared.

Other restaurants have also had unfortunate endings this year. Here are the saddest restaurant closings in your state.

golden corral restaurant

The early days of the pandemic brought many uncertainties to daily life, but at least one thing was clear from day one: buffet-style restaurants were not the kind of place people should eat during a new era of unprecedented hygiene. Since closing all 35 company-owned restaurants on March 25 and reopening just six since then, Golden Corral filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October, struggling to adapt to the business while its operating model is banned in many states for health reasons.

However, in a statement to Restaurant Business, parent company 1069 Restaurant Group said it is working with its largest franchisee during bankruptcy and “anticipates that it will continue to operate 24 of its 33 Golden Corral franchise locations in Georgia and Florida.”

Related: 19 things you should know before eating at buffet restaurants


This year was difficult for all restaurants, but it was especially difficult for those who were trying to change things before the pandemic even arrived. Fuddruckers, based in San Antonio, Texas, is one example: after selling some of its company-owned locations in 2019 to pay off debt, most of its remaining 40 locations were forced to close during the blockades.

Unfortunately, parent company Luby’s Inc. announced in September that it would close all 31 remaining locations, liquidate the company and distribute assets to shareholders after paying off the remaining debts. (More on that below.)

Now, the only glimmer of hope for the hamburger chain is to complete the sale to a new owner before the end of the year. “The plan also continues to provide the potential to put restaurant operations with well-capitalized owners moving forward,” said Luby CEO and President Christopher J. Pappas in a statement.

Restaurants are not the only ones forced to close this year. This COVID-19 precaution is temporarily closing some Walmart stores.


It may be too late for fans of the 73-year-old Texas-based Luby’s Cafeteria chain to come back for a final fried chicken pie or steak. The restaurant’s parent company, which also owns and operates Fuddruckers, announced the closure of its 76 locations in the same liquidation announcement as its brothers in the hamburger chain.

“We believe that moving forward with a liquidation plan will maximize the value for our shareholders, while preserving the flexibility to pursue the sale of the company if an attractive offer that adds superior value is made,” Pappas said in a statement.

Related: Dr. Fauci just said when you can eat at restaurants again

souvenir shop

This year marked the end of the road for the popular Sweet Tomatoes salad buffet chain. The San Diego-based company struggled to find viability in its model, as health restrictions prevent the buffet service from restarting, even with the reopening of on-site meals in some areas of the United States. which would permanently close all 97 Sweet Tomatoes locations, which also operated under the name of Souplantation in Southern California.

“To our esteemed guests, as you may have heard, we cannot reopen our 97 Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes restaurants due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said the closing announcement. “The display of love on social media has been overwhelming and we are very grateful for all the sweet memories you have shared with us.”

If you are going to a restaurant that has things set up outside, here are 5 dangerous outdoor dining options to avoid.

blue smoke
Blue Smoke / Facebook

The iconic New York restaurant, Danny Meyer, easily makes headlines and creates waves across the industry whenever he opens a new project, but having one of his businesses permanently closed has an equally big effect. After deciding to close all on-site operations at all of its restaurants just a month earlier, parent company Union Square Hospitality Group announced on December 2 that Meyer’s barbecue and jazz institution in the Flatiron area of ​​Manhattan would not be reopened for service. .

“This place was built on the shoulders of two beautiful communities: barbecue and jazz,” said Meyer. “We value these ties and the music will continue. In addition to being thankful for the most loyal community of guests and talented team members over nearly 20 years.”

Unfortunately, this is not the only iconic New York restaurant closing its doors forever.

Pizza stall pizzas

Any child of the 90s with fond memories of RESERVE! Personal rewards and mini pizzas can be used to receive news of nostalgia. Pizza Hut’s largest franchisee, NPC International, announced on August 17 that it would file for bankruptcy and close 300 stores – most of which are some of the last remaining operating restaurants. Overall, the company’s holdings include 20% of all Pizza Hut locations in the U.S.

If you’re ordering some of the network’s iconic pizzas online, here are 19 tricks to order a healthier pizza to lose weight.

pacific restaurant car
Pacific Dining Car / Facebook

West Los Angeles residents may now have to face traffic if they want to order their favorite cut of meat. The famous Pacific Dining Car steakhouse succumbed to COVID-related difficulties and permanently closed its Santa Monica branch – which has been in operation 24 hours a day since 1990 – and sold the restaurant’s supplies at an auction in June, reports USA Today. Fortunately, Angelinos can still count on the center’s original establishment, which has been open since 1921.

In other sad news, this Adored West Coast Restaurant is closing after 157 years.

le pain quotidien exterior

The restaurant industry may already be full of “c’est la vie” moments, but the pandemic has made some problems very difficult to overcome. Such was the case with the beloved bakery chain Le Pain Quotidien, which filed for bankruptcy in May and closed the restaurant’s 98 stores while trying to find a buyer.

But baguette lovers can rejoice: Aurify Brands LLC was able to close a deal in June, announcing that it hoped to reopen 40 of the closed locations in the near future. Since then, the company has responded to the complaint, announcing that 43 coast-to-coast locations are “slowly reopening.”

ruby tuesday

Long-standing fast casual chains have suffered especially from the strains of business limitations in the midst of the pandemic, and Ruby Tuesday is no exception. On October 6, the company based in Maryville, Tennessee, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and announced that it would permanently close 185 locations. The brand has been struggling with declining sales for years due to reduced pedestrian traffic in malls where its restaurants are usually located, reports CBS News. More than 235 sites will remain in operation.

Related: 10 biggest restaurant chain failures of 2020

Specialty Coffee
Specialties / Facebook

When you have a company that depends on traffic from office workers to meet its financial results, you can probably count on 2020 as nothing short of apocalyptic. This was the case with Specialty’s Café & Bakery, whose popular bakery, breakfast and coffee products were a constant presence near offices in California, Washington and Illinois. Unfortunately, the company announced that it would close all of its more than 50 locations after May 19 due to financial problems caused by the pandemic.

“Specialty’s Café & Bakery is closing after 33 years in business,” announced the company on its defunct website. “The current market conditions attributed to COVID-19 and on-site shelter policies have decimated the company’s revenue.”

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