Restaurant closures and adjustments in New Jersey and Philadelphia

We were recently talking to friends in the Philadelphia, PA area.

The pain of the COVID-19 pandemic era is still being felt in many ways.

We asked them for an example. Without hesitation they said: The daily brunch in downtown Philadelphia.

This restaurant belonged to Robin Barg. It had operated for nearly 41 years at 2101 Sansom St, Philadelphia, PA.

Barg told the Philadelphia Inquirer on December 23, 2021 that “she gave up the fight.

She was dealing with a significant dispute over rent arrears, as well as the all-too-familiar staffing issues created by the COVID-19 era.

Adding to the dilemma of rent arrears, Barg has been unable to find staff members to replace his aging team. “My old ones were irreplaceable,” she told The Inquirer.

This left Barg in the unenviable position of having to sell his catering business and the contents of his restaurant.

This is yet another example of a long standing company that was able to navigate through multiple recessions and a Great Recession over 4+ decades… only to succumb to the pandemic.

COVID-19 continues to hover over people’s heads in many ways. There is still uncertainty, especially in the restaurant sector.

You may have noticed that many restaurants are now closed on Monday, Tuesday or Monday and Tuesday.

A local example, in Atlantic County, New Jersey, is the iconic Steve & Cookies by the Bay restaurant in Margate, New Jersey. Owner Cookie recently announced on Facebook that she will be closing her restaurant on Tuesday.

Cookie Till through Facebook.

Cookie Till through Facebook.

On August 29, 2022, Till wrote the following:


We ran with a reduced staff this summer – especially in the kitchen. It forced us to make tough decisions, like reducing the menu and now closing a day. In the future we will be closed on Tuesdays.

We greatly appreciate the core staff we have and are very grateful to them for their hard work, integrity and courage. Together, we went through probably the busiest summer of our 25 years.

This is the first time we’ve considered closing even one day on a consistent basis, but after careful consideration, we believe it now makes sense.

Thank you for your understanding and know that we will continue to offer you our all six other days of the week.


Cookie, the management team and staff

These are just a few examples. There are so many more in the Delaware Valley and across America.

This is the current reality in America today. Another example is Alan Angeloni, owner of Angeloni’s II restaurant and lounge, which now closes Mondays and Tuesdays, after operating 7 days a week for almost 50 years.

The “new normal,” or whatever you want to call it, is anything but normal.

However, don’t expect it to end anytime soon. And, watch longer-running establishments either close permanently or make the necessary adjustments to their operations to survive.

This phenomenon has affected independent restaurants and casinos. No one has been immune to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and its direct impact on business and industry.

THE SOURCE: The Philadelphia Inquirer, regarding Robin Barg & the Day by Day Brunch.

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