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5 Destination Restaurants You May Never Get to See

These famed eateries may never operate the same again, or even worse, they may close forever.

Globally, the restaurant industry has suffered tremendously from the pandemic, as many were forced to close their doors indefinitely.

While some have been able to operate on just delivery and takeaway orders, for other businesses, it didn't make sense to stay open. High-end, destination restaurants have especially been hit, as most had no other option than to completely close shop in response to the inevitable drop in tourism.

Whether some of these businesses will be able to recover financially remains up in the air—the owners of several popular fine dining restaurants have already expressed concern about not being able to reopen. Others have announced that they will reopen, but only by making significant changes to their original business models.

Here are five such destination restaurants and bars that are at risk of permanent closure.


The French Laundry: Yountville, California

the French laundry

Chef Thomas Keller, the owner of the 26-year-old French Laundry in Napa Valley—as well as a list of other restaurants across the country—had to lay off most of his 1,200 employees between California, New York, Nevada, and Florida.

In April, he sued Hartford Insurance Co. for saying that civil authority shutdowns are not covered. The French Laundry is just one of Keller's three-star Michelin restaurants, but whether the renowned chef will be able to reopen this destination restaurant after suffering from dramatic financial losses brought on by the pandemic remains uncertain.


Noma: Copenhagen, Denmark


Right now, things are looking good for one of the world's most famous restaurants, Noma, despite the current circumstances. The prestigious restaurant that's known for its New Nordic cuisine recently announced that it will be reopening in phases as Denmark's restrictions begin to lift. Starting on Thursday, May 21, Noma will reopen as an outdoor wine and burger bar, open from Thursday to Sunday from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. and no reservations will be necessary. Both wine and burgers will be available for takeaway, as well. If and when Noma will be able to resume normal service will be determined in later weeks.


Eleven Madison Park: New York, New York

eleven Madison park

According to Bloomberg, restaurateur Daniel Humm said that he may not be able to reopen the famed Eleven Madison Park in New York City.

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"It will take millions of dollars to reopen. You have to bring back staff. I work with fancy equipment in a big space. I want to continue to cook with the most beautiful and precious ingredients in a creative way, but at the same time, it needs to make sense," he told Bloomberg.

Humm had to lay off his staff, about 30 percent of which were in the U.S. on visas. They were all sent home as a result of the pandemic. Whether the 80-seat restaurant will be able to reopen its doors is looking bleak, but time will tell if a resurgence is a possibility.


Blue Hill: New York & Tarrytown, New York

blue hill
Gerry S./Yelp

Dan Barber, co-owner of Blue Hill at Stone Barns in upstate New York as well as in NYC, like most restaurants, had to lay off a majority of his staff in response to the public health crisis. The famed chef told CBS News that he isn't sure if either location will be able to reopen, considering we still don't have a timeline for when the pandemic will truly be over.


The Aviary & The Office: New York, New York

aviary nyc
Emi B./Yelp

Unfortunately, luxury cocktail bars the Aviary and the Office have already announced that they are not reopening in NYC. Nick Kokonas, the co-founder of the restaurant group Alinea that owns both bars, told Eater that the decision to shut them down wasn't related to the pandemic. In fact, both bars were already scheduled to close on April 15. Whether the original Aviary will continue to exist in Chicago, though, is still unclear.

Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.

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Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the news editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and drink coverage, and breaking down the science behind the latest health studies and information. Read more
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