coronavirus claims restaurants

Shocking shutters due to COVID-19 rock prominent Houston restaurants

Shocking shutters due to COVID-19 rock prominent Houston restaurants

Poitin interior
Poitín. Photo by Trevor Gerland
Jerry Lasco Lasco Enterprises
Lasco Enterprises founder Jerry Lasco. Courtesy of Lasco Enterprises
Barry's Pizza exterior
Barry's Pizza closed after 37 years.  Barry's Pizza/Facebook
Poitin interior
Jerry Lasco Lasco Enterprises
Barry's Pizza exterior

The restrictions imposed to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic have undoubtedly been beneficial in keeping the vast majority of Houstonians healthy, but the interruption in operations has contributed to a decline in revenue for almost every bar and restaurant.

As with the disruption caused by Hurricane Harvey, the effects will be far-reaching and difficult to predict. Undoubtedly, many restaurants will either not reopen or will close sometime soon after reopening.

The restaurant closings listed below are different than the recent announcements about closings at Dolce Vita, Treebeards, and Dak & Bop. Those are related to lease increases or an owner's decision to sell a piece of property. These closings are the beginning of a storm that could continue through the end of the year. 

Barry’s Pizza 
The Galleria-area pizzeria announced on Facebook that it will not be reopening. Known for its deep dish, Sicilian-style pies, Barry’s had initially closed at the end of March with a message from owner Barry Childress that he and his employees would return, but it appears those plans changed. 

“Well, friends, It's official. COVID-19 killed Barry's. We had a great 37 year run. I'll carry these memories always,” the Facebook post reads. 

As of Wednesday morning, the post had drawn over 1,600 comments from Barry’s fans expressing their sadness at the closing.

Poitín Bar & Kitchen 
Owner Ian Tucker has yet to respond to a phone call from CultureMap about the status of his restaurant in Sawyer Yards, but executive chef Dominick Lee tells CultureMap it has served its last meal. In addition, all of the furniture has been removed from the space and Poitín’s social media pages are offline.

“Ian told me it wouldn't be reopening,” Lee says.

With his time at Poitín having come to an end, Lee says he plans to return to his hometown of New Orleans to open a new restaurant as part of his Alligator Pear Hospitality brand. Leaving Houston will be bittersweet for the chef, whose worked helped Poitín earn a spot on Texas Monthly’s 2019 list of the state’s best new restaurants, but he says he’s found an ideal location in the Bywater neighborhood. 

‘I love Houston for everything I’ve [experienced],” Lee says. “I just want to go back home and make a difference . . . A lot of people who are my age have forgotten the history of New Orleans.”

The Tasting Room Uptown Park 
Lasco Enterprises announced that the original location of The Tasting Room will close on May 30. Known for its popular happy hour and spacious patio, The Tasting Room had occupied its space for 17 years, but it couldn’t come to new lease terms, according to the Houston Chronicle. The Tasting Room’s location in CityCentre will remain open.