As if the pandemic wasn’t hard enough on small businesses, the country is now facing an unprecedented labor shortage, with over 10 million job openings and only six million unemployed workers to fill them. In addition, inflation, high fuel prices, and the rising cost of raw materials have posed insurmountable challenges to many independent businesses, including restaurants.
Across the country, many beloved establishments shut their doors permanently this year. Culinary hot spots including New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, and New Orleans have all lost famed eateries, whether they were run by promising new chefs or were long-time neighborhood hangouts. Many of these restaurants began to struggle as they were forced to shut their doors indefinitely at the start of the pandemic. (Many didn’t even make it this far. These were the saddest restaurant closings of 2021.)
To compile the saddest restaurant closings of 2022, 24/7 Tempo consulted scores of restaurant news and review sites, as well as local and regional magazine and newspaper sites from across the nation.
Besides eateries that have closed due to the effects of the pandemic, some were unable to negotiate a new lease with their landlords. One unfortunate establishment failed to recover after being gutted by a massive fire, while another slunk out of the limelight as the chef-owner settled a class-action lawsuit brought by its employees for rampant abuses and unpaid wages.
On the other hand, some of these restaurants, notably those that have been in business for three or four decades, have closed because their owners decided to retire and enter the next – more relaxing – phases of their lives.
Of course, it isn’t only local and independent restaurants that are shutting down. Many national chains, including Subway, Taco Bell, Applebees, and TGI Fridays, have closed numerous locations across the country. Others, including Hale & Hearty and Old Country Buffet appear to have closed down completely. (Not all chains are struggling, however. Here are the 50 most successful restaurant chains in America.)
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