The food business is a hard one to crack. The turnover of places in recent years seems to be bigger than ever, especially as areas change and grow in popularity. There are a few things we seem to see a lot of before a business goes bust:
1. They take a loooong time to get going. Perhaps they've overspent before they even get started.
2. They don't do their homework first. Either the name is awful, the artwork terrible and the fit out poor.
3. They go out of fashion and look slightly unloved.
4. A sign appears at the front announcing 'Closed for Renovation' and they never reopen. We call this a 'runnervation'.
We went to many of these places throughout the year but they were closed before we even had time to blog about them.
It also makes us sad to read through our blog and see the increasing number of places we have reviewed that are now closed down, especially in the food courts.
To be fair, perhaps some places were past their prime and were no longer viable. Perhaps some of the owners just decide to retire / move on / give up and they shut down. Whatever the reason, especially if they were long running places, we are sad to see them go.
We have mostly recorded closures in the areas we frequent most, if you know of any others in your area celebrate them in the comments below.
Probably the greatest loss of recent years in the Chinatown area. Once the darling of the late night crowd, it closed quickly and quietly. We're holding on to Golden Century now with all our might.
Yee King Noodles
Once one of our favourite restaurants in Sydney. A little birdy told us the owners handed it down to their kids who ran it into the ground. Such a shame. We will miss their deep fried pork ribs served in foil and unwrapped with cried of delight at the table.
There was building work in the middle of Dixon Street and along Thomas Street that probably saw a strain on some businesses. Along Little Hay Street there was a Thai place that became Chicken Bite Korean Fried Chicken, then Sams Kitchen, also now closed.
Other closures included Barby's, now St Honore Cake shop, Hana Hana now a hot pot place, Cold Rock Ice Creamery, Poplar Central Asian Cuisine (now Chinese Noodle, Chinese Dumpling), Queen of Spades Bubble Tea (now a Korean Fried chicken place), 9 Noodles and Little Lamb Chilli House (now New Chilli House).
In the food courts there were a lot of closures and a slow down of replacement places. In the Sussex Centre Food Court Ngon Vietnamese Street Food didn't last more than a few weeks before becoming Formosa Gourmet Taiwanese. North and South is still empty. In Dixon House Food Court Mekong Eating House has become Pho Uc. In Eating World we lost Kimama Kitchen Casual Japanese, a favourite.
Hot & Roll Malay Street Style Wraps in the newly opened Quay building didn't make it to the end of the year.
And by the end of the year, McDonalds at the Entertainment Centre should be closed too when the site is demolished.
Haymarket lifer Cyril's Fine Foods closed down after sixty years in the business.
In the CBD there were a few closures along George Street: Happy Lemon, Meet Fresh, Teddys Place Cafe and the last surviving eat in Pizza Hut in the CBD. Pasta Goma on Liverpool Street closed as well.
Beijing Alley near the cinema complex on George Street served a fantastic cold noodle, replaced by a Hong Kong dessert bar. China Kingdom in World Square became Tang Hui and Bistro Hulu on Liverpool Street moved to Crows Nest. The Century Tavern has been sold, it's future is unknown.
Central Station and Broadway
Underneath in the George Street walkway Crepe Cart folded it's last French treat. Leon's Food Bar has gone as Central Station is redeveloped, a great place to grab something to eat before getting on the bus to Canberra or country NSW.
After many years Harbour Sushi closed, probably due to competition from the Sushi Hub chain down the road.
In the new Central Park complex in Chippendale Autolyse closed it's large bakery. Tucked behind UTS Chang Chun Chinese closed it's doors.
Along the Broadway stretch Nostalgia Cafe closed, Masaka Japanese Dining is now Storm Village
and Mehak Indian is Bon Bistro Vietnamese. Rhiannas Lebanese also closed.
Goofyhead in the Broadway arcade probably wins for best name of the year, but it couldn't keep itself open in this quiet little food court. Soul Origin closed it's big operation out the front, the location is under development.
Mr Lu Rice and Noodle House is now Fresh Choice Chinese Restaurant with some interesting dishes we are trying.
Chubby Girlz Bunz Shop changed to the excellent My Duo Pie. The massage parlour went too.
The Dough Collective in Broadway Shopping Centre was another big bakery closure.
The Lansdowne Hotel, once a key band venue in Sydney's live music scene has shut it's doors to become a music school. The irony of training lighting techs and sound engineers for venues that are fast closing is not lost on us. The Hampshire Hotel further along the road in Camperdown has also closed.
At the bottom of Glebe Point Road Sandwich Zone became Eat Falafel (excellent $5 rolls here) and
Uni Thai became Uni Cafe that did some Japanese Curry, then a Vietnamese joint and is now Co V Tastes of Taiwan which we really like.
From the top of King Street, Chedi Thai was then Excellent Indian Restaurant, now McGrath Real Estate. Thai Times Nine is now Charles Thai.
Viu Va Say closed to become food truck Mama Linh's and is now Raven's Eye bar. Nearby Chocoloco and Saigon Belle Vietnamese also closed. The site of Chocoloco has a DA up for a dessert bar - didn't they learn the first time?
Foodelicious (one of the worst names of the year) is now Schnitzel House. Mooberry rode the froyo wave but crashed out and is now Delish Pork Rolls. Burgerlicious and Citrus n Spice couldn't keep up. Moshi Moshi Gyoza is now Tokyo Noodle Bar Zuzuzu. Midnight Thai is now GRK Souvlaki.
The Italian Bowl is taking over the space left by the closure of Newtown Bakery next door.
At Newtown station the Dessert Bar closed and Saigon Corner is now Sandwich Place. Down the bottom half of King Street Pho 88 is now Golden Lotus Vegan, Amazon Steak House is Jungle Hut, Spencer Guthrie is The Bach Eatery, Graze on King is That Place on King.
The cafe in Chelsea's on King, Camden Villa, is closed. Claire's Crepes and Smash Sausage Kitchen also ended their Newtown adventures.
From the bottom of Enmore Road there has been changes. Walk Inn Thai is now Thai Times Nine, Ottoman is now Empire Turkish and Jalapeno Mexican is now Black Ginger Vietnamese. The Peruvian restaurant Inca closed and is now the $90 a kilo meat fest of Bovine and Swine. The Queen Victoria Hotel is still under renovatio until February, Sumalee Thai II briefly opened there. Creme Glace is now part of Manoosh Lebanese, Talija Balkan Restaurant is now Shaahi Indian
and Oganoya became Minoya Japanese.
Sultans Table is currently closed after a fire damaged the restaurant, we hope to see it return.
The saddest closure in Marrickville was Marrickville Quality Cakes, they made a fine Italian biscuit we could never resist.The Norton Street Grocer fruit shop at Marrickville Metro became Panetta.
Celini's Turkish Cafe closed, there is currently a DA in to move the licence from the Town and Country on Unwins Bridge Road in St Peters to here.
In Petersham Madeira Grill now Two Fat Greeks and over in Summer Hill the wonderful Rio Milk Bar closed after 63 years. In one of the best things we've seen in a long time, there's a plaque in place to honour milkshake legend George Poulos.
In Leichhardt we noticed Aldo's Meats on Parramatta Road has closed after many years as the building is going to be demolished.
Over in Rozelle, A.B.C Food Takeaway has closed, farewll to their mystery brown things in the bain marie of love.
Heading along Oxford Street in Darlinghurst we heard Olympic Yeeros had closed. Red Lantern on Crown also closed to become Pork'd.
In Surry Hills Sydney Uyghur Cuisine is now Mrs Wu's Kitchen. Ramen Kan in Bondi Junction is the aptly named Bondi Ramen.
Down Mascot way Bandung Rasa closed to be taken over by the moving feast of fried chicken, ATL Marantha. often neglected for its fine banh mi and groovy interiors, Vee Vee closed as well.
In Kingsford ATL Ayam Talur Lunak opened briefly then later moved to Mascot (see above). Shilin Taiwanese Street Food snacks closed another chain and It's Time for Thai ran out of time.
Another sad closure was one of our favourites in Kensington, Kaki Lima. it is very sadly now Dominos Pizza. Buck Me Noodles in Maroubra Junction went as well.
Down Hurstville way the only thing we noted over the year was China R Us closing but we expect there to be more because of the rampant development in the area.
In Neutral Bay a classic of the Chinese Restaurant decor era ended when Mido Chinese Restaurant closed it's hexagonal doors.
Over in Dee Why development meant the makers of a fine Beesting at the Royal Danish Bakery have closed.
Down Canberra way Sunrise Milk Bar in Civic closed after many years. We sorely regretted not trying a burger in there.
Even on our trip back to Osaka in Japan we noted lots of changes in Fukushima. Nomen Bar and the late night ramen bar we went to have become Italian bistros. A classic breakfast place near the railway has gone and the Supermarket on the corner near the J Hoppers hostel has become upmarket. We feel sorry for the locals who lost their convenient store.
And finally to absent furry friends...
Elvis the bookstore pussycat from Newtown's Fine Print Books left the building, as well as our good friend Merlin J Pussycat who we had known for many years. Farewell to Haiku J Pussycat too. Sunny the Foxie harassed his last fisherman along Runaway Bay in the Gold Coast, we will miss him when we next visit the GC.
Farewell, one and all. Here's to new openings in 2016.