Residents of the Inland Empire can still see the effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic in the form of restaurants that have been closed for months without any signal if they will reopen.
There are fewer of these restaurants this year than last year, and some of them are starting to have new tenants.
Still, restaurants, from startups to decades-old neighborhood hangouts, won’t be entering the New Year.
Here are some of the notable restaurant closings in Riverside and San Bernardino counties for 2021.
Ban Thai: The tiny house on Brockton Avenue in Riverside that was converted into a Thai restaurant 12 years ago will close on December 23. Owner Sam Arch said he plans to look for a new location in Riverside.
Coconut Bakery Restaurant: When one of this Inland chain’s many restaurants closed in Sun City last May, community members saw it as a loss. But recently the town of Menifee, which includes Sun City, announced that the 1.4-acre property is being converted back to a Black Bear Diner. The opening objective is summer.
Mexican restaurant Don JosÃ©: After nearly 30 years at Lake Elsinore, this restaurant closed at the start of the year, thanking customers for their loyalty on Facebook. It was an offshoot of Don Jose in Huntington Beach, which remains open.
Brazilian grills from Espettos: This little restaurant near Ralphs in Riverside’s Canyon Crest Towne Center was replaced by Georgie’s Mediterranean Cuisine at the end of summer.
Freshii: This Toronto-based chain, which emphasizes healthy meals, has closed most of its branches in Southern California, iincluding one in Riverside.
Gold buffalo: This breakfast and burger spot on Riverside’s Magnolia Avenue is being transformed into a Mexican restaurant in Alberto, according to signage on the building.
Inland Empire Brewing Company: This craft brewery, which opened in Riverside in 2009, has closed its bar due to the pandemic. It was later replaced by Kitchen Sink Brewing Company.
Jammin ‘Bread & Coffee: The 25-year-old restaurant at Riverside’s Canyon Crest Towne Center quietly closed late in 2020, and owner Cheryl Duffy left the space in January. Arcade Roasters moved in and began serving breakfast and lunch in the restaurant, now named the Bakehouse, in early fall.
Pirate’s Kitchen: This recently closed Cajun seafood restaurant was located next to the Yard House on the outskirts of Tyler’s Galleria.
San Bernardino County
Blue Pitt Coffee: Named after the rescued pit bulls, this San Bernardino restaurant specializes in homemade baked goods. This closed after six years in September with a farewell on Facebook.
Bruxia: This Orange County chicken and waffle chain expanded to The Shoppes in Chino Hills in 2012, but this place is now Urban Fish Taco.
Guasti house style cafe: This restaurant which occupied what was once a 1923 house in Chino had decades of history. This closed during the pandemic and the building was eventually leased.
Lotus Garden Restaurant: This old-fashioned Chinese restaurant on Hospitality Lane in San Bernardino was put on the market by the family that owns it. It opened in 1987 and the meatless versions of its dishes have found a following among vegetarians.
Fresh Indian Grill Roti: This highland restaurant posted its closing on Facebook in July, but was hoping for a comeback.
sizzle: After a lengthy COVID-related shutdown, this chain’s location in Redlands has called for its closure and is being turned into Denny’s, which in turn has closed its location directly across the street at Redlands Shopping Center. This Sizzler was the site of a experimental pop-up who served steaks in the parking lot in the summer of 2020.
Terry’s dinner: This Redlands restaurant occupied a building that once housed Tony’s Spunky Steer. It closed during the pandemic and for months messages of encouragement to get through the health crisis were painted on its windows. He did not succeed. Its owners made the announcement on Facebook in August.
Returning Burgers: This restaurant chain is no longer present in Southern California, according to its website. Its San Bernardino site closed before the start of the year.
Yogurtland: The closure of a store in San Bernardino has left the city with a shortage of frozen yogurt stores.