South Carolina: Jestine’s Kitchen
> Location: Charleston
A major tourist draw for 24 years, Jestine’s was named for the African American housekeeper and cook employed by the white family that founded the place. It was recently criticized as “the last Charleston restaurant to openly capitalize on the narrative of black servitude,” in the words of The Post and Courier. After reopening on May 20, the restaurant announced in mid-June that it would cease operations for good due to “the quick onset of the scary pandemic.”
Tennessee: The Green Pheasant
> Location: Nashville
The Green Pheasant, an izakaya (Japanese bar food) place named Best New Restaurant of 2019 by Nashville Scene, announced in early June that it would not be reopening. Chef Jessica Benefield told the Scene that the pandemic struck the restaurant with “a triple whammy” — meaning that the combination of the downturn in tourism, the cancellation of shows at Ascend Amphitheater across the street, and the fact that more people are working from home instead of in local offices made it unlikely that the izakaya could survive.
Texas: Five Sixty
> Location: Dallas
Famed chef-restaurateur Wolfgang Puck’s modern Asian restaurant on top of Dallas’s Reunion Tower, which opened in 2009, is no more. A press release blamed its demise on “scheduled improvements” to the space “in combination with the unknown timeline due to the Coronavirus.” Puck has also shuttered another of his modern Asian places, The Source, a 13-year-old establishment in Washington, D.C.
Texas: Highland Park Cafeteria
> Location: Dallas
Known for its zucchini muffins, chicken-fried steak, homemade pies, and other comfort food, this community favorite, opened in 1925, will not reopen. Addressing its customers, a statement on the restaurant website said “We would love to have a farewell event to honor you and our faithful employees, but due to the current restrictions, we won’t be able to do so.” The statement left open the possibility that the place might be revived in the future, adding “So, making no promises — but who knows? Zucchini Muffins may one day make a comeback!”
Washington: Bill’s Off Broadway
> Location: Seattle
“It is with heavy hearts,” reads a statement on the restaurant website, “we announce that after 40 years, Bill’s Off Broadway will be unable to reopen due to situations outside of our control.” On its Facebook page, Bill’s published the social media handles of some 11 employees, in case “anyone would like to show some love to the staff … .”