South Carolina: Blossom
> Location: Charleston
When this restaurant featuring seafood and Lowcountry fare opened in 1993, The Post and Courier dubbed it “the hottest spot in town.” In reporting the establishment’s demise in early December, the publication noted that it “helped build the first wave of Charleston’s current culinary renaissance.” Unfortunately, COVID-19 proved too much for the place, which posted a message on its Instagram page on Dec. 7 saying: “Sadly, last night was our final dinner service after 27 years.”
Texas: Oak Hill Pizza Garden
> Location: Austin
On Jan. 8, this crowd-pleasing pizzeria and sandwich shop — which described itself as “Austin’s Carb Capital, since 1994” — posted a message on its Facebook page announcing that it would close, “with great sadness,” effective Jan. 17. The landmark restaurant opened 27 years ago in a distinctive stone building dating back to 1898. A last-minute rush of business prompted the restaurant to add that it was doing its best “to keep up with the demand the closure has created but we’re a much smaller crew than before covid.”
Texas: Mother’s Café & Garden
> Location: Austin
Oct. 24 was the final day for Mother’s Café, a 40-year-old vegetarian restaurant in the Texas capital’s Hyde Park neighborhood. In September, John Silverberg, owner of the iconic establishment, told CBS Austin that since the pandemic hit, “We’ve seen a 75% drop.” Mother’s had been serving only a limited takeout menu, and by mid-October, Silverberg realized that the business wasn’t sustainable and made the decision to shut down permanently.
> Location: Various
This iconic 73-year-old Texas cafeteria chain, with some 60 locations currently open across the Lone Star State, announced on Sept. 8 that it was liquidating its assets. Generations of Texans have flocked to Luby’s for its chicken-fried steak and other comfort food (it was a particular family favorite for Sunday lunch). The chain responded to the emerging pandemic in March by temporarily closing restaurants and furloughing more than half its corporate employees. In June, Luby’s revealed that it was putting its restaurants up for sale, at least partially, due to the effects of COVID-19. The decision to shut the operation down was made to “maximize value for our stockholders, while also preserving the flexibility to pursue a sale of the company should a compelling offer that delivers superior value be made,” Luby’s CEO and president Christopher J. Pappas said in a statement. The company also owns the nationwide Fuddruckers burger chain, which is also being liquidated.
Texas: Cafe Texan
> Location: Huntsville
This iconic 83-year-old establishment north of Houston, said to have been the oldest café in Texas still in its original location, is gone for good. Owner John Strickland told The Huntsville Item that he had remained closed for months out of concern for the health of his customers, many of whom were seniors, and his staff. However, he said, “I had not intended to close it permanently.” When he realized that that would be necessary, he sold the building, which will apparently be turned into a museum.