The COVID-19 pandemic, since its arrival in March of 2020, has made its presence felt across nearly all businesses and industries in the country. Many long-standing and foundational local businesses that have withstood generations are now having to shut down completely due to the coronavirus' effect on the economy.
Restaurants and bars may be the industry that's taken the greatest toll during the pandemic. Stay-at-home orders, in-dining restrictions and general fear of contracting the virus have kept residents from dining in at their favorite locations. This has forced restaurants to transition into take-out and delivery options or to permanently close down altogether.
Rochester restaurants have been no exception to this, and many of the community's favorite eateries over the years indelibly closed.
Owner Dihanna DuVaught announced on June 27, she was going to be permanently closing the iconic bakery's storefront location at 1600 S. Broadway after recently opening the storefront during the summer of 2019.
DuVaught closed the original bakery location on Civic Center Drive Northwest in March and closed the downtown Rochester location as well. She purchased the business from founder Cynthia Daube in 2015, who spent 28 years previously operating the bakery.
While the storefronts are closed, Daube's Bakery still offers online orders from its website.
Tonic - Local Kitchen & Juice Bar
This popular Med City café, owned by Tony pester and Time Wiste, permanently closed on April 17, after a six-year run that saw numerous accolades and awards come its way.
Tonic was formerly located on 1217 Second St. SW across from Mayo Clinic's Saint Marys Hospital. Founded by Nicci Sylvester before her death in 2018, Tonic was known for its locally sourced produce and meat that was used to create its unique menu.
The Loop, owned by Rocket Restaurant Group, permanently closed its 318 1st Ave. SW location on July 27. The owners cited the pandemic and downtown construction as the main proponents. The Loop operated downtown for eight years prior to its closure and has locations in Minneapolis as well.
Lettuce Unite was located in the University Square shopping mall food court on 100 1st Ave SW, and closed down permanently on Aug. 28. The popular destination was owned by Championship dining, which is owned by Jerry, LeeAnn and Lindsay Zubay, as well as Justin Schoville.
Lindsey said in a farewell post on the Championship Dining website the key factors behind the closing were the pandemic and the downtown construction. Lettuce Unite was known for its signature salads and soups that brought a lot of traffic to the downtown food court.
300 First, owned by Creative Cuisine, was another popular downtown destination for people before the restaurant announced its closing on July 1. Creative Cuisine owners said the combination of downtown construction and the pandemic resulted in the steakhouse having to shut its doors. 300 First was located at 300 1st Ave. NW.
Owners Youness Boji and wife Amber opened their creative cuisine restaurant back in 2015 and had to close their doors this past August. Despite the couple trying to find creative solutions to stay open during the summer, they cited the times being too tough to keep the location open.
Youness and Amber plan to open another restaurant located at the old Le Petit Cafe location at 301 N. Broadway named "Chez Bojji."
Le Petit Cafe
A beloved European-style establishment, Le Petit Cafe was forced to permanently close due to downtown construction and the pandemic, according to Owner and Chef Dierdre Conroy.
The old brick location is arguably the most historic Rochester building without a direct connection to the Mayo Clinic.
Are we missing a restaurant on this list? If so, email tips to Erich Fisher at firstname.lastname@example.org.