2020 will be the year that upended the restaurant industry. It’s difficult to talk about the year in review when everything changed, when people and businesses suffered during the pandemic. In light of the challenging year for everyone in Los Angeles, we asked food writers and industry folks share their saddest restaurant closures of the year.
Mona Holmes, Eater LA Reporter
It haunts me to think about the number of restaurants that closed this year. But that feeling sinks even further when I think about the ones that are permanently gone and we don’t know about them yet. I know they’re all hurting, and it’s not just about not being able to eat Lincoln Carson’s pastry anymore at Bon Temps, or a late night baseball steak at Pacific Dining Car. I know of some owners who used their personal savings to stay afloat, only to have it completely gone now. Back in March, Mayor Garcetti said the first safer-at-home order was to last until the end of the month. It seems incredible that we’re approaching ten months of this and these deeply sad closures are still underway.
Joshua Lurie, FoodGPS.com founder
2020 has inflicted a series of gut-wrenching closures on L.A., so it’s hard to know where to begin. Still, six losses hurt more than others: Bäco Mercat, Bon Temps, Broken Spanish, Here’s Looking At You, Jun Won, and Ma’am Sir.
Danielle Dorsey, LA editor, Thrillist
It’s so hard to choose just one when we lost so many iconic LA restaurants this year. I’m hoping that Button Mash will be able to reopen in 2021, as that was one of my favorite places for old school arcade games and bar food. The closure of Cliff’s Edge hurt — it was one of my fave Silver Lake spots for wasting the evening away with cocktails, good food, and friends.
Esther Tseng, freelance writer
Beverly Soon Tofu, Wah’s Golden Hen, Auburn, Somni
Jim Thurman, freelance writer
There are far sadder closures, but from a purely personal standpoint, Beijing Pie House. Xian bing (meat pies) can still be found, but no one else has that wondrous radish pie or the wild vegetable pie that BPH served.
Farley Elliott, Eater LA senior editor
It’s been hard to see important places like Dialogue close, though the one that hits closest to my heart is probably Broken Spanish. Oh, also Here’s Looking at You. Damn.
Oren Peleg, Eater LA contributor, freelance writer
Bon Temps — a stellar restaurant (food, decor, staff) that should have had lines out the door every night were it in a different neighborhood, or in any other city in America. Unfortunately, the pandemic hit during its delicate first year as the restaurant was working to establish itself and lure diners from across town.
Euno Lee, Eater LA writer
When I learned Dong Il Jang closed, I cried. I have a photo of my grandmother and grandfather (both of whom have now passed on) eating there on a date in the 80s. My mother and her best friend would visit there. That restaurant was iconic to the Korean-American community. This pandemic and the government’s inability to provide any form of adequate assistance to immigrant-run restaurants whatsoever has erased a part of my family’s history that I will never be able to physically revisit. Thinking about this makes me extremely upset.
Cathy Chaplin, Eater LA associate editor
Here’s Looking At You, Bon Temps
Hadley Tomicki, L.A. Taco
Where to begin? They’re all tragic, but there is something about seeing institutions like Beverly Soon Tofu close that hits especially hard.
Matthew Kang, Eater LA editor
The Koreatown closures of Nak Won, Beverly Soon Tofu, and Jun Won. In many ways those three restaurants cover the entirety of my life, from childhood to college to professional career. Dong Il Jang’s closure was also incredibly sad though I had less personal connection there. Koreatown is and will always be the center of my passion for dining in Los Angeles and seeing the closure of these iconic restaurants feels like a part of my identity was wrested from me. However, I am hopeful that Beverly Soon Tofu and Jun Won will return in some form to LA once the pandemic is over.