China Inn near U of L closed after 30 years.

A moment of silence for restaurants closed by the pandemic

It’s been almost two months since Gov. Andy Beshear ordered Kentucky restaurants closed to sit-down dining in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, and even with the partial reopening of restaurants at 33 percent indoor capacity (moving up to 50 percent on June 22), the restaurant scene looks very different than it did before the pandemic.

The region’s restaurants are struggling against this gut punch, and they deserve all the help we can give them through carryout, curbside, and home delivery – not to mention generous tipping – but we have to face the reality that Louisville’s great restaurant scene is going to look very different when this is over.

While many local restaurants have reopened within the state’s social-distancing and capacity restraints, many are waiting cautiously or continuing to offer only takeout but no sit-down dining. Others remain closed indefinitely, hoping to reopen in the future when or if the pandemic has passed.

Let’s take a moment of silence, too, to remember the local restaurants that are permanently closed. Here’s a list of fourteen that I know of. If you know of others, please let me know so we can add them to the list.

  • China Inn
  • Eddie Merlot’s
  • Eiderdown (changing to catering)
  • Hearth on Mellwood (replaced by second Chik’n & Mi)
  • Johnny Brusco’s Pizza (replaced by second Old School NY Pizza)
  • Kobe Japanese Steakhouse
  • Lilly’s
  • Lola’s Kitchen
  • Migo (replaced by second Hammerheads)
  • Milkwood (becoming McAtee’s Kitchen)
  • North End Cafe
  • Ostra
  • Scarlet’s Bakery
  • Verbena

Wipe your eyes now, and toss up a high-five to the handful of bold entrepreneurs who have chosen to open new restaurants in the middle of the storm. Again, these are the ones I know for sure. Let me know if other new arrivals should be included.