Oregon: Sweet Basil’s Café
>Location: Cannon Beach
A Cajun-Creole place opened in 2007 in this coastal town in the northwestern corner of the state, Sweet Basil’s has extended its temporary closure into a permanent one. Social distancing requirements, says co-owner John Sowa, would have allowed him to fill three or four tables at the most — which, he adds, “doesn’t cut it.” Sowa plans to take the executive chef job at Silver Salmon Grille in Astoria, just up the coast, where he will add some of his Louisiana specialties to the menu.
Oregon: Nel Centro
Restaurateur David Machado announced that he is permanently closing this, his oldest Portland restaurant, opened in 2009 — as well as four other restaurants and bars he runs in the city. Machado told Portland Eater that he anticipated increased costs due to new sanitation and social distancing measures and feared that revenue would decrease 50% to 70%. He is also concerned that if he did reopen all or some of his places, a spike in COVID-19 cases could force him to shutter a second time, and “I could not bear to go through layoffs again.”
Oregon: Pok Pok restaurants
James Beard Award-winning chef-restaurateur Andy Ricker, whose Pok Pok restaurant group specializes in northern Thai and Vietnamese cooking, announced on Instagram in mid-June that he was closing four of his six Portland locations. The shuttered restaurants include Pok Pok NW, Whiskey Soda Lounge, and two outposts of Pok Pok Wing. A third Pok Pok Wing might reopen, and Ricker’s original Pok Pok will remain.
Pennsylvania: Ritz Barbecue
Described by the Morning Call as “An Allentown landmark restaurant where generations of families gathered for barbecue, banana splits, milkshakes and more,” the Ritz grew out of a fairgrounds stand established in 1927 and moved to its present site 10 years later. The current owners, Jeff and Grace Stinner, who took over in 1981, announced in mid-June that they would not reopen. Though the restaurant had been for sale since 2019, Grace stressed to the Morning Call that the pandemic is to blame for their recent decision. “We did want to stay open until someone else took over,” she said, “but that’s not feasible now.”
This 15-year-old Old City establishment — whose mission statement reads “Our emphasis on local, seasonal ingredients is based on our support for sustainable agriculture & to the growing demand for healthy, creative cuisine” — has called it a day. “It is with a sad heart and with deepest regrets,” read a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page in mid-May, “that FARMiCiA Restaurant will be permanently closing its doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.”