It’s an Eater tradition to round out the year with a survey of local food experts — editors, writers, reporters, and a select few others — on the highs, lows, and surprises of the past 365 days in dining. Today, our panel looks at the most heartbreaking closures of 2022. Have thoughts to share? Feel free to add them in the comments.
Stephanie March, food and dining editor of Mpls.St.Paul Magazine
Keefer Court! How are we to live without the buns!
Mecca Bos, food writer, chef, and Hidden BIPOC Foodways founder
I think most of us got overly accustomed to restaurant closures during the pandemic to the extent that we’re almost inured to closures. That said, I’m excited to see the industry working to make restaurants a less fragile business model, and a more stable career choice for those of us who love it.
Em Cassel, editor and co-owner of Racket
I think the most heartbreaking loss was Sen Yai Sen Lek and Dipped & Debris. Mucci’s closing its Lyn-Lake location was a real blow for me personally. Part Wolf was a bar, not a restaurant, but I hated losing that, too. Will also miss Sheridan Room, one of my longtime go-to brunch spots. But yeah, Sen Yai Sen Lek… I’m getting misty-eyed just thinking about it.
Trish Gavin, bar maven and Eat Street Crossing beverage director
Khyber Pass, although I am excited that it’s staying in family hands and excited to see Bar and Cart.
James Norton, editor and co-founder of Heavy Table newsletter
I know this is restaurant-adjacent, but I’d have to say the closure of Kitchen Window hit me the hardest. Most of the stuff in my home kitchen comes from there, and I’ve spent a lot of happy hours just wandering the aisles, trying to figure out what culinary alley to chase down next. It had one of the largest physical selections of items on the shelf of any kitchen store in the country, and there really isn’t an equivalent successor — it was a unique nexus of knowledge, gear, and curation.
Ali Elabaddy, Eater Twin Cities contributor
Keefer Court and Khyber Pass Cafe’s closures were especially heartbreaking. While Keefer Court’s closure was understandably needed, Khyber Pass was and forever will be a special institution.
Alex Lodner, Eater Twin Cities contributor
I am not going to pretend I’ve been to Williams in this decade, or the last, but that was a shocker. Just one of those places you assumed will always be there, like Nye’s.
Justine Jones, editor of Eater Twin Cities
It’s a tie for me. Sen Yai Sen Lek was such a special place. I got to be there for its last night of service, and oooff, the tears were flowing all around. Such a remarkable example of how a restaurant can be a home, whether you’re eating som tum at a table or tending a pot of khao soi in the kitchen. Over in Cedar-Riverside, Keefer Court has been an equally warm, grounding, essential place in that neighborhood — and for 40 years! I’m very happy for Paulina, Sunny, and Michelle Kwan as they transition to new things. But I can’t overstate what a loss it is. Every single one of those handmade mooncakes and egg tarts was a treasure.