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While it may seem that 2022 brought a loosening of restrictions around the pandemic and a new sense of freedom, for many restaurants, this has not been an easy year. Although we saw changes such as the lifting of the indoor mask and proof-of-vaccine mandates for businesses, the Boston Globe reported that eateries struggled with high food and labor costs. During 2022, we continued to see local restaurants having to shut down.
We wanted to take a moment to reflect on the spots that have had to close, which included many beloved, neighborhood classics that had stood the test of time. Among them were places such as Lindsey’s Family Restaurant in East Wareham, which had served customers for 74 years. Others, like Gourmet Dumpling House in Chinatown, said that their guests felt like family. Meanwhile, Italian restaurant chain Bertucci’s filed for bankruptcy this month and closed five Massachusetts locations.
Scroll down to learn about some of the restaurants that shuttered over the past 12 months. In some cases, we’ve heard what readers and members of the public had to say about the closures. Below, you’ll find a record of these places and the footprints they left in their communities.
In early January, Molti on Moody, formerly Moody’s Delicatessen & Provisions, closed, with a statement from management explaining that COVID had directly impacted business. The Waltham eatery was known for its popular sandwich menu, and it had expanded to feature pizzas, take-and-bake meals, and pre-packaged foods. “Thanks for being such a reliable neighborhood favorite all these years,” @amber_spry wrote on Molti on Moody’s post. “We will miss you!”
Pollo Club, another Waltham restaurant, operated by the same management group as Molti on Moody, also closed in early January. A Boston.com article said that the spot had “small but vibrant digs,” was a “playful counterpart to Molti on Moody next door,” and was celebrated for its hearty fried chicken sandwiches. “I am so sad to hear this!” wrote @danielleh2272 in response to Pollo Club’s Instagram post. “I loved Pollo Club—you had the most amazing fried chicken.”
Less than two years after its grand opening, Dorchester restaurant 50Kitchen permanently closed down on Feb. 12. The Asian and southern fusion menu included unique items like chicken and waffles with apple butter, smoked brisket banh mi, and the 50k sandwich, featuring smoked pork dipped in BBQ sauce, topped with Asian pear slaw. Head chef and owner Anthony Caldwell had kept the restaurant open during the height of the pandemic and assured fans on Instagram, “We are grateful for what we were able to do and accomplish in just two years.”
A Cambridge dive bar, Newtowne Grille, closed its doors for good on March 19. The beloved spot, which offered cheap pub fare and a $15 pizza-and-pitcher special, had been open for 56 years. A Facebook post explained that shutdowns, restrictions, mandates, and a lack of government support led to the closure, stating that the pub had “fallen too far behind financially.” Larry Bole replied to the bar’s Facebook post, “Best bar jukebox I’ve ever encountered. Loved the early bird specials, particularly burgers, wings, and pizza. You WILL be missed!” he wrote.
In an unusual turn of events, Aram’s Cafe, a Belmont spot for breakfast and lunch, permanently closed in the spring because a delivery driver mistakenly dumped gallons of oil in the restaurant’s basement earlier this year. The incident devastated the business, destroying $60,000 worth of merchandise, owner Aram Postaljian told Wicked Local. “This was not how we expected our story to end,” a Facebook post read. “But nevertheless, we are so grateful for every single day of the last 35 years for the opportunity to serve you and this wonderful community.”
Boston’s Hard Rock Cafe, near Faneuil Hall, closed in June, after having been in the area for 15 years. According to the Boston Globe, a spokesperson for the eclectic restaurant’s parent company, Jonathan Goldman, said its lease expired that month. The venue, popular among tourists, was known for its decoration with rock music memorabilia. “The brand remains committed to the city and is open to having another location within the market, if the right space can be identified,” Goldman said.
A pizzeria in Charlestown shuttered on June 30, citing labor issues, food costs, and COVID fatigue as the reasons for the closure. Jenny’s had sold pizzas for over 50 years but was also recognized for its subs, calzones, salads, and wings. Boston.com reader Derek O. said Jenny’s was an important part of his upbringing, adding that his step father had been a delivery driver there for years. “From helping you make pizza boxes when I was 10-12 years old, to coming there in snow days to try and help you shovel, your business and family meant a lot to many of us,” he said.
After 15 years of serving the Chinatown community, Gourmet Dumpling House welcomed hungry customers for the last time on June 30. The restaurant’s lease expired in July, and staff and leadership were retiring. Fans enjoyed eating soup dumplings and specialties like the ox tongue and tripe. Reader Kelsey H. from Texas said that she remembers her grandfather introducing her to the restaurant when she was in high school, adding that whenever she visited Boston later in her young adult life, Gourmet Dumpling House was always “an essential stop.” She added, “Last trip, I brought a bag of their dumplings on the plane home to Dallas. My purse smelled like cabbage the next day or so — but it was worth it.”
Famed restaurateur and chef Tiffani Faison’s Orfano, an Italian American eatery in the Fenway, held its last day of service on June 30. The whimsical spot offered dishes like pork parmesan, Asian-inspired calamari, cacio e pepe, and lobster bucatini, as well as cocktails with a twist. Reader Katie from the Fenway said that she would remember the tomato and okra salad paired with a delicious pork chop. “The wait staff was top notch, and I always felt at home at the bar,” she said.
An iconic North Shore Chinese restaurant, Salem Lowe, ended its run of over 50 years on Aug. 14. Owner David Yee said that the destination shuttered because he was retiring. The spot was famous for its chop suey sandwiches, but customers also dug into chicken fingers, crab rangoons, chow mein, sweet and sour pork, and fried wontons. Reader Barbara H., formerly from Peabody, said she had never seen chop suey sandwiches anywhere else, calling them “a truly unique treat that will be missed.”
The Brighton community experienced a big loss when Brato Brewhouse and Kitchen shut its doors on Nov. 6. According to their Instagram, they “weathered storm after storm of lockdowns, inflation, job shortages, supply line interruptions, utility upgrade delays, and construction setbacks, among other problems.” Reader Doris L. from Brookline told us, “How can I forget all the happiness we found in the outdoor dining at the patio with all [those] nachos, burgers, chicken waffles, and beers?” adding that the food was always made with love.
A fixture of the Cambridge community, Darwin’s Ltd., a coffee shop with four locations, posted on social media in early November that the Mount Auburn Street location would close on Nov. 22. The Cambridge Street, Massachusetts Avenue, and Putnam Avenue locations closed Dec. 22. Earlier in October, leadership announced that their 30 year lease was ending and that they would need to “take workload and personal health into account,” which led to a union rally from Darwin’s United at Cambridge City Hall. Dave, a reader from Cambridge said that he had fond memories of “great sandwiches, good coffee, and black and white cookies. Wish I could visit one last time.”
The French patisserie Cafe Madeleine announced that it would close for good on Nov. 15. The popular bakery was known for its croissants, danishes, tarts, bread, and sandwiches, as well as holiday buche de Noel. Reader Audrey L. from the South End said, “I remember going in the mornings to pick up a pastry before work and without fail, there was always a line outside. Runners, dog walkers, couples on a breakfast date—you name it, everyone wanted a delicious treat to start their day.”
After 74 years in business, Lindsey’s Family Restaurant served its guests for the last time on Nov. 27. The beloved eatery in East Wareham was known for its seafood, as well as dishes like the turkey croquettes. A Facebook post said that staffing shortages brought about by the pandemic, and also “increasing wages, increasing food costs, and a decrease in consumer spending” led to the shutdown. Reader Jess P. from Wareham said that Lindsey’s was her favorite restaurant in town. “They will be missed, and I hope that if they can’t reopen, they make a book about their history and include some of their great recipes,” she said.
Mary Chung Restaurant, which has become an institution in Cambridge, is slated to serve its final meals on Dec. 31. The Chinese restaurant had been in business for 40 years, and manager Tom Chung told Boston.com that the eatery’s owner, Mary Chung, is retiring. During COVID, Mary Chung pivoted from dine-in to take-out only, and Tom Chung said that management wanted to close “on a safe and healthy note.” The spot has been popular among college students and locals alike, famed for its Suan La Chow Show dish. Guests also enjoyed the scallion pancakes and dun dun noodles.
After recently announcing plans to close after 27 years, this casual Jamaica Plain spot, known for its wood-fired pizzas, will serve its last guests on Jan. 14. The Dogwood has been facing challenges since before COVID hit, but the pandemic amplified problems. The menu features bistro items like burgers, pasta dishes, and tacos, craft beer and cocktails, and in the past, live music. General manager Sarah Butler said that The Dogwood saw regular visitors who were dedicated to the establishment, and called the closure “a bittersweet thing.”
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