More than two years after New York’s first indoor dining shutdown, restaurants and bars continue to close their doors. More than 1,000 have closed since March 2020 due to the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Due to the difficulty of tracking restaurant and bar closings, experts say that number could be even higher, and will likely take months or even years to assess.
Below, Eater is documenting the city’s permanent restaurant closures, including Bushwick’s popular Sofreh Cafe and a short-lived favorite for lunch in Tribeca. If a restaurant or bar has closed in your neighborhood, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. This post will be updated regularly.
East Village: A “great and dependable” neighborhood spot, as one commenter put it, Akina Sushi has been closed for weeks, EV Grieve reports. The family-run spot — known for sushi, other Japanese fare, and a BYOB policy — opened in December 2008.
East Village: EV Grieve notes that Los Tacos NYC — not to be confused with Los Tacos No. 1, which started in Chelsea Market and now has several locations across the city — has shuttered its East Village shop. Google lists it as permanently closed, and there’s a handwritten sign on the door that reads: “I’m sorry. We are closed. See you later.” The restaurant opened in fall 2020, and Eater critic Robert Sietsema praised it for a “pleasingly single-minded menu that focuses exclusively on seven tacos,” including chicken mole, pollo a la Mexicana, and a breakfast taco.
Noho: Bessou, a stylish spot serving up comforting Japanese dishes, closed its doors in the past week after nearly six years in business. According to the restaurant’s Instagram post “These doors are closing soon but we’re not going away!” and the team has hinted at more projects in the works. On May 30, the team launched home meal delivery via Cook Unity for some its favorite dishes, such as chicken karaage.
Bushwick: Sofreh Cafe, an off-shoot of the popular Prospect Heights Persian restaurant, has closed less than a year after opening on Varet Street. Owner Ali Saboor confirmed the news to Eater over text message, adding that while the cafe as it was known is no more, the space is being converted into a private dining room for its next-door restaurant Eyval, which opened in March. According to Sabor, some of the cafe’s popular rose-scented pastries will live on at Eyval during brunch.
East Village: EV Grieve spotted workers clearing out Desert Rose Café earlier this month, spelling an end for the neighborhood espresso bar with crepes and waffles. The storefront is listed as permanently closed on Google after opening on East Ninth Street last July.
Tribeca: Short-lived neighborhood favorite Twiggy to Go is calling it quits after a little over a year, owners Mitchel London and Thomas Mikolasko announced in a sign posted to the restaurant’s front door. According to Tribeca Citizen, the owners first signed a lease in 2019, but were set back by a fire, flood, and the ongoing pandemic. Twiggy To Go finally opened in March 2021 as part of bigger plans to turn the space into a full-service restaurant.
Crown Heights: After eight years in business, underground cheese cave Crown Finish Caves called it quits late last month. Over the years, the subterranean cheese aging facility supplied cheese to some of the city’s top restaurants and cheese shops. An announcement signaling the cave’s shutdown did not indicate a reason for the closure.
East Village: Raclette, named after the scraped, melty cheese dish popular in Switzerland and other Alpine countries, closed this week after seven years in business. Raclette owner Edgar Villongco confirmed the closure to Eater via text message but declined to provide a reason for the shutdown. Update: Raclette is now reopening on Wednesday, June 29. “We closed because our insurance was not renewed, but we will be re-opening next Wednesday, June 29, for dinner service,” Villongco said in an email to Eater.
Prospect Heights: KIT, a pop-up incubator that supported queer-owned businesses, shut down last month after a year in operation. KIT — an acronym for Keep In Touch — was run by Libby Willis, who was a co-owner of the space’s former establishment, the beloved MeMe’s Diner. Earlier in June, Willis told Eater that the reason she shut down the space was both personal and financial: “I really wanted to try something new and different with KIT. I wanted to try to find a way to make a living in the food industry and under capitalism. But, with a very small team and even smaller resources, it was really difficult.”
West Village: One of NYC’s best smash burger spots, Best Burger, is no more, co-owner Billy Barlow tells Eater. According to an Instagram post from the business in March, it appears that the Little West 12th Street spot has converted into a comfort food joint with frozen drinks called BB’s; however, Barlow tells Eater that the Best Burger team is not involved in the new venture.