Food & Drink

The 14 biggest restaurant closings of 2014

restaurant closed sign
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According to the great philosophers in Semisonic, "every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end" -- and if that's the case, these 14 restaurants met their beginning's end in 2014. Pour out some beer for spots that opened up the doors and let you out into the world... forever.
 

7A

New York, NY
If you walked around the East Village any time in the past few decades, 7A would be open. The 24-7 diner never seemed to lack a crowd (especially during brunch). Now, there's one less place for hungry New Yorkers to eat eggs at 2pm. Luckily for them, there's at least 10 more options.
 

Chaya Brasserie

Los Angeles, CA
Not many restaurants in the country can lay claim to creating a dish that's been copied on menus across the country. And yet, the original Chaya in Beverly Hills is where Shigefumi Tachibe whipped up tuna tartare for the first time. The good news is you can still hit up their other locations after they close on New Year's Eve, or just make it at home.
 

Hamersley's Bistro

Boston, MA
Twenty-seven years ago -- way before Top Chef ever filmed an episode there -- Boston wasn't known for its culinary offerings. Hamersley's helped change that with the a seasonal menu and an ever-popular roast chicken dish. And the benefits to Boston's food scene didn't stop at plates of delicious poultry, as generations of chefs were schooled in that kitchen before moving on to bigger and better things, including the Top Chef Master behind Trade.

Hot Doug's

Chicago, IL
Hot Doug's was just a hot dog stand like the sun is just a yellow thing in the sky. In many Chicagoans' eyes, both were equally life-giving -- just ask this guy. From duck-fat fries to craziness like a salsa verde wild boar sausage with chipotle Dijonnaise and jalapeño bacon, it's easy to see why lines at Doug's were routinely wrapped around the block.
 

Joe's Cable Car

San Francisco, CA
Plenty of restaurants are named after a guy who no longer works there anymore (we've never seen royalty behind the counter at Burger King). But at Joe's, a guy actually named Joe made hamburgers he called "fresh ground beef steak" up until he retired in March 2014 at the spry age of 75. He'd been in the burger game for 49 years, and figured it was a good time to retire.
 

Johnny's Grill

Chicago, IL
Chicagoans appreciate a good greasy spoon -- and we've got nine examples that back up that claim. Johnny's surely would've made the list of late-night eateries had it not closed too soon. The nation has lost another spot to have a cheap breakfast (and kill time for a few hours, if you were so inclined).

La Bete burger
Chona Kasinger

La Bête

Seattle, WA
Why yes, that is one of the restaurants that used to serve one of the best burgers in the country. And it also dished out pork rinds that the dining public spoke well of. That's the bad news. The good news is that the burger is still served there -- albeit as part of a new concept inside the same space called Spaghetti Western. Same chef and everything. All is not lost. 
 

Palena

Washington, DC
DC not only lost one of their best burgers when Palena closed in April after 13 years, it lost the talents of a James Beard Award-winning chef, Frank Ruta. Ruta won't be away from the kitchen for long though -- he's poised to make his mark on the menu of a boutique hotel in Georgetown.  
 

Red Medicine

Los Angeles, CA
This high-end spot was known nationally for two reasons: 1) delicious Vietnamese fusion and 2) they outed a then-anonymous restaurant critic and kicked her out of the restaurant without serving her. Now no one can eat there.

Tamale House

Austin, TX
Breakfast tacos and Austin go together like regular tacos and Austin. And for 36 years, the breakfast tacos at Tamale House were Austin legend. After the owner's passing in April, the family decided to shutter the location. But the spirit of Tamale House lives on, as the owner's nieces and nephews continue to operate Tamale House East, which we recently named one of the best Tex-Mex joints in the city.
 

Tangier Bar & Restaurant

Philadelphia, PA
While it was known as a place to get a drink more than it was a restaurant, it's not debatable that Tangier was an important part of the neighborhood. And there's something to be said for a chef who served up serviceable bar food there for 28 years, even if the guy himself isn't much of a talker
 

twelve restaurant

Denver, CO
An upscale dining destination that helped put the now-bustling Ballpark neighborhood on Denver's culinary map, twelve featured a prix fixe menu that changed every month. While this restaurant will be shuttered, the chef behind twelve is poised to make his mark on Mile High's food scene again: this time with a new ramen spot, sushi joint, and a 12,000sqft food hall that will feature all kinds of cuisine.

wd~50

New York, NY
Wylie Dufresne made his mark on NYC (and the culinary world at-large) with ambitious, mind-bending dishes in the early aughts all the way up until November 2014. And it didn't shut its doors due to unpopularity -- developers are knocking down the building to put up a new one.  

 

Wildwood

Portland, OR
Founded 20 years ago by a James Beard winner, the place combined rustic and fine-dining sensibilities, and was at the forefront of the farm-to-table movement that helped define Portland as one of the country’s best food cities. Now Portlanders will have to get farm-to-table food from... well, pretty much anywhere else in Portland. Much of that’s thanks to Wildwood’s legacy.

Lee Breslouerwrites about food and drink for Thrillist, and is sad about 7A. Follow him to less depressing news at @LeeBreslouer.