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Gay Street Area Hit Hard by Four Restaurant Closures

Susan Post Susan Post Gay Street Area Hit Hard by Four Restaurant Closures
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The picture of just how much the coronavirus pandemic could impact the restaurant industry is becoming clearer as a number of Downtown restaurants have called it quits.

Four spots on and around Gay Street have officially closed or seem to have uncertain futures.

Plantain Cafe, 77 E. Gay St., ended their 10-year run in early April. In an email, the restaurant shared, “Due to the Statewide restaurant closure, Plantain Cafe, LLC has ceased operations.” Plantain Cafe first opened on Gay Street in December 2009, serving up a menu of Cuban fare.

Phenix Bistro’s last day of operation was Wednesday, June 10. The restaurant announced its closure in a Facebook post.

“We have reached the end of our time operating our dream and livelihood with Cafe Phenix,” shared owners Brittney Barnhart and Gary McConnell. “Our little shop is now permanently closed as we cannot afford to continue any longer.”

Phenix first arrived Downtown as a cafe at 39 E. Gay St. in 2016. The menu focused on customizable drinks and baked goods, with a smattering of savory lunch options. When short-lived Criollo vacated the premises at 51 E. Gay St., the cafe expanded into the space as Phenix Bistro in May of 2019, offering an extensive breakfast and lunch menu. The original plan was to operate both spaces, but in a GoFundMe campaign created in July 2019, the owners shared that unexpected expenses had led them to consolidate the two businesses into the new Bistro spot.

Just months after its opening, it also appears to be the end for Belly Burger, 26 N. High St. Located down Lynn Alley just off High, the burger joint opened in the former home of Oliver’s in December 2019. No official notice of closure has been found, but the restaurant’s website and Facebook page are deactivated and an email request for comment was returned as undeliverable.

Further down Lynn Alley, the future of Si Señor, 72 E. Lynn St., seems uncertain. The Peruvian sandwich shop’s Grandview location has continued to offer carryout and delivery during the coronavirus pandemic, while the Downtown location is currently closed. The restaurant has been listed for sale, and requests for comment on when and if the Downtown location will reopen have not been returned at the time of publishing.

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