This week, the Massachusetts Restaurant Association estimated that about 3,600 of the 16,000 restaurants that existed around March 1 have not reopened as of early September — about 23 percent. In the Boston area, dozens upon dozens have closed as a result of the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
Some trends emerge: Downtown lunch spots, beloved sports bars like The Fours by TD Garden, and chic French-inspired bistros like Bar Boulud have closed. Not even the Cheers bar in Faneuil Hall, nor six Pret A Mangers and three Legal Sea Foods locations, were immune. A popular block of Boylston Street is suddenly almost entirely empty.
While some say they closed for reasons unrelated to coronavirus (the original Anna’s Taqueria in Brookline), and a few are still hanging on to hope of reopening down the line (The Pour House), many restaurateurs pointed to COVID-19 as the direct cause of their financial woes. The restaurant business is an already tough industry with narrow margins. Additional factors piled on during coronavirus — the state-mandated shutdown in the spring, a phased reopening that’s indefinitely now on pause, winter coming, and of course the city’s high cost of rent — have all contributed to closures.
Below, see how the pandemic’s economic effect on the area’s restaurant scene has changed neighborhoods as we knew them.