San Francisco’s legendary Louis’ Restaurant announced it will close permanently as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The restaurant, located above the historic Sutro Baths on Point Lobos Avenue with stunning ocean views, was in operation for 83 years. It served classic American food like eggs Benedict, burgers and clam chowder with a side of sourdough bread.
“This decision was very difficult to make but with everything we have seen and heard regarding reopening for indoor dining we felt it was an unsafe environment for us and our employees,” the restaurant said Monday. “To wait out this pandemic was financially unreasonable.”
Bill and Tom Hontalas, grandsons of the original owners, said in a statement on Facebook that they were especially saddened to be unable to say goodbye to “many wonderful and loyal customers.”
“It was a privilege to operate in arguably the most beautiful setting in the world,” the post said.
The restaurant closed March 16 as the pandemic forced the unprecedented shutdown of businesses and life across the Bay Area. At the time, the closure was said to be temporary.
Louis and Helen Hontalas opened the cafe in 1937, according to Louis’ website.
Hundreds of people — local families, tourists and former employees — commented on the Facebook post announcing the restaurant’s closure with an outpouring of memories, sadness and condolences for the beloved San Francisco institution.
“It will always be remembered as a true S.F. treasure,” one person wrote.
“You’ve helped us create some wonderful memories with your food and hospitality. A piece of San Francisco has sailed into the sunset,” another person added.
The restaurant joins many others across the region and country forced to close — temporarily or permanently — by the surging pandemic.