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The Saddest Restaurant Closures of 2016

Thanks for the memories.

A darkened bar with wood top and back stocked with bottles. A blurred bartender walks past
Pouring one out for our homies.
Joy Summers

It’s no question that 2016 has been a major year of loss and that includes our restaurant landscape. As Landon Schoenefeld prepares to serve his final meal inside Nighthawks, Heartland readies its final service and the final vestiges of Saffron are erased from the building, we look back at the places we were heartbroken to leave behind.

Today we ask, what were the standbys, restaurants we could count on last year?

James Norton, editor Heavy Table

“Brasserie Zentral. I really think the Kleins and their team created something wonderful with this celebration of Austro-Hungarian food, a dual-track approach that embraced the uber-cultured fare of Vienna and the earthier peasant dishes of Hungary. Food and service were just superb. “

Frank Haataja of The Minnesota Skinny

“Saffron: As much as I enjoy Sameh Wadi's work at World Street Kitchen, I'm sad I never got to experience it at Saffron.”

John Garland, editor The Growler

“I don’t think Saffron and Heartland were sad closures, because both restaurants lived long, successful lives, and their owners will continue to do great things in our culinary community. So even though the quality of their beer had been flagging for some time, Harriet Brewing gave many of the Metro’s finest brewers a turn at the tanks, and it’s sad to see them go. The current brewery boom owes them a debt of gratitude.”

It’s like a little of the soul has gone out of Nordeast.
Nye’s Polynaise Room

Molly Mogren, Hey Elenor

“Nye's. A Minneapolis staple to be replaced by condos or something equally soul-less. It just bums me out.

Along those lines, the takeover/new ownership of Baker's Wife. They claim the recipes are the same, but the place was stripped of its character and turned into just another "Instagrammable" donut shop. Yuck.”

Nancy Ngo, the Pioneer Press

“Barbary Fig on Grand Avenue in St. Paul. Already missing this beloved longstanding family institution!”

The jewel-toned dining room at Saffron.

Erik Eastman co-owner of Easy & Oskey


Jason DeRusha, WCCO and Minnesota Monthly

“Saffron. Saffron had an incredible run, but knowing I won’t see Saed Wadi’s giant smile when I walked in, the great drinks at the bar, and the incredibly richness and depth of spice in Sameh Wadi’s food makes me sad.”

The octopus a la plancha from Saffron.
Joy Summers

Joy Summers, editor Eater Minneapolis

“Saffron. We’ll never get to experience that unique beauty again. I’m so glad I got to go one more time just before it closed with my gang of friends. We ate too much, laughed to loudly and left nothing on the table.”

Mike Marcotte, Local Guy About Town for KSTP, Twin Cities Live

“Il Foro. I never got to eat that cheeseburger since it was only on the lunch menu.”

Alex Lodner, contributor Eater Minneapolis

“Saffron. Hopefully that smooth as silk hummus topped with paprika butter will make its way to the WSK menu soon. Pleeeeeaaaaase.”