The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the restaurant industry, with many beloved restaurants closing their doors for good. While some chains have been able to weather the storm, independent restaurants have been hit particularly hard due to their lack of corporate funding and inability to adapt to the new normal. From old school institutions to avant-garde eateries, the restaurant industry has suffered a great loss. Souplantation, a popular chain of self-service buffets, was one of the first to close its doors in response to the pandemic.
Founded in 1978, the chain had spread across California and the Southern U. S., offering homemade soups and fresh salads. CEO John Haywood temporarily closed all locations on March 10th, but with federal recommendations against self-service operations, it was unlikely that the all-you-can-eat buffet would survive in the COVID era. Villa Blanca, an unofficial venue for The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, was another casualty of the pandemic.
The restaurant was popular with celebrity viewers and fans of Vanderpump Rules, and Lisa Vanderpump herself had denied rumors that it was in financial distress due to a sexual discrimination lawsuit. In an interview with Daily Mail, she stated that the real reason for the closure was a combination of increasing rents and the pandemic. Vanderpump hopes to resurrect Villa Blanca in the future, but for now she has focused on reopening her other restaurants in West Hollywood. Pacific Dining Car, an iconic Los Angeles restaurant opened in 1921, also closed its doors due to COVID-19. The exclusive steakhouse was a hit with early screen stars such as Mae West and George Raft, and its cozy leather booths were a favorite among politicians and prostitutes alike.
Unfortunately, even its premium-quality steaks could not save it from the pandemic. K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen, founded by celebrity chef Paul Prudhomme in 1979, was another beloved restaurant that closed due to COVID-19. Prudhomme's niece had been running the restaurant after his death, but when tourism plummeted due to the pandemic they saw no way forward. Prudhomme's legacy lives on through his cookbooks and television series, as well as his Creole-Cajun condiments of the same name. The Source by Wolfgang Puck was another casualty of COVID-19. The Asian fusion restaurant marked Puck's initial foray into Washington D.
C., and its izakaya bar food made it one of the city's favorites. Puck has admitted to The Hollywood Reporter that he has been eating a lot of chocolate due to stress, and is making the most of quarantine by filming A Very Silly Cooking Show with his daughter Pandora. Blackbird, a Chicago restaurant created by Donnie Madia and Ricky Diarmit in 1997, also closed its doors due to COVID-19. The elegant minimalist box offered refined yet unpretentious dishes that blurred the lines between good food and fast casual food. Chef Michael Solomonov told Robb Report that David Chang's opening of Momofuku changed the way we all enjoy restaurants now - a sentiment echoed by many as they mourned Blackbird's closure. COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the restaurant industry, with many beloved restaurants closing their doors for good. From old school institutions to avant-garde eateries, we will miss them all.