To the restaurants I never knew, and those that I love

At the beginning of March, I wrote about missed opportunities to eat at some of the world’s finest restaurants that had closed their doors forever. My motivation for that article was not, as you might think, the impact that the coronavirus was having on the restaurant industry. I had been thinking about restaurants like Fäviken, which served its last meal in December 2019. Shortly before I wrote the article, I read a piece about the last service at Magnus Nilsson’s fabled restaurant, and that had swirled around in my head for a couple of weeks before I put my thoughts into words.

The post now seems like a portend as the list of permanently closed restaurants grows with each passing day. Only now it isn’t just groundbreaking, world-famous, outrageously expensive eateries that I will never get to visit, it could be any of the places I read about on Eater or Grub Street or even in the local newspaper. In the before-time, I thought that I would probably visit my cousin in Austin, Texas in the not-too-distant future and finally get to sample Franklin Barbecue’s famous brisket. There were a couple of new Minneapolis restaurants that I had penciled in to try once I thought they had settled into their groove. It is anyone’s guess whether these fledgling eateries will make it through coronavirus restrictions, much less the ensuing sluggish economy that will follow even after things return to some semblance of normal.

I wonder as well about some of my favorite restaurants, the not-at-all fancy places where I go – or should I say went – with friends to celebrate life’s little victories or just the fact that it was finally Friday. It is these places, the familiar, comfortable, friendly spaces that I will grieve for if they are not able to make it through the pandemic. Although I might have a pang of wistfulness about not getting to experience Fäviken, I will know exactly what I am missing if my favorite restaurants close for good. This real loss will be felt deeper than any hypothetical meal at a three-star establishment. Of course, losing a favorite restaurant is worlds away from the worst outcome one can face in times like these. Nevertheless, it will still sting to lose restaurants and shops that brought joy to my life. In the meantime, I will support the places that are struggling to make it via carryout or delivery, and I will hope that as conditions improve, they will be able to once again prosper.

Post a comment

One Comment

  • MarciK  on  August 4, 2020

    My dream is Chez Panisse.

Seen anything interesting? Let us know & we'll share it!