While the closing of restaurants is inevitable, it's hard not to feel the personal loss of these businesses in our communities. This year, we saw more than 60 closures, and whether it was a dependable plate of comfort or a zesty new bite, each leaves a hole where something special once stood.

This summer was a rough one with longtime St. Paul favorites Foxy Falafel and Ngon Bistro coincidentally closing on the same day. Walkin' Dog, the last man standing in a downtown Minneapolis building being renovated, served its last hot dogs after more than 20 years.

Kinh Do, Bev's Wine Bar, Bon Vie and the Bad Waitress were the type of long-serving neighborhood mainstays we hoped would be with us forever.

We also want to hold space for chains that held their own for years. We'll cherish our taco Tuesday memories at the Taco John's in the downtown Minneapolis skyway — the line filled with Dockers and skyway walking shoes was respite when there was still more workweek than weekend ahead of us. The Lake Street White Castle was a beacon on the thoroughfare, and a shiny stand of steamy burgers in the shadow of the Kmart that was a unifying target of the city's ire. And then there were the pies of the Highland Park Baker's Square, a bittersweet loss if ever there was one.

The year also saw the closing of high-profile brewery taprooms: Dangerous Man shuttered its Northeast taproom and Eastlake Craft Brewery left Midtown Global Market after nearly a decade. Clutch Brewery, an original Keg and Case tenant, will close at the end of the year, as will Loring Park's Lakes & Legends.

These are restaurants that switched the sign from Open to Closed for the final time in 2023.

Closed this year

January: Arezzo, Bad Waitress, Lawless Distilling cocktail room, Baker's Square.

Feburary: Wilde Cafe and Spirits.

March: MB Foodhouse, Lemon Grass, Bap and Chicken, Bev's Wine Bar, Eat Street Social, Old World Pizza, It's Greek to Me.

April: Walkin' Dog, Grateful Table, Bon Vie, Eagle Street Grill, PF Chang's Edina, Kinh Do.

May: Rock Elm, Monello/Constantine.

June: Lowry Hill Meats, Birchwood Cafe (for sale), Fasika, Alary's, Wahlburgers Maple Grove, Bark and the Bite.

July: The Good Earth (Roseville), Fiddlehead Coffee Co., Chicago's Very Own, Taco John's in the Skyway, Uptown Collab, Breaking Bread Cafe, Foxy Falafel, Ngon Bistro, Rok Eatery, the Lynhall No. 2640 (now an event space).

August: Escondido, El Jefe, Psycho Suzi's, Kieran's Kitchen, Vo's Vietnamese, Chelas.

September: Eastlake Craft Brewery, Kalsada, Soul Bowl Richfield, Tracy's Saloon, Agra Culture Highland Park.

October: Vann, Dangerous Man, Shakopee House, Urban Eatery, Sooki & Mimi, White Castle Lake Street, Red Sauce Rebellion, Spinning Wylde Cotton Candy Cafe.

November: Jinx Tea, , Clutch Brewing, Stalk and Spade, Advellum.

December: Campiello (Dec. 31), Half Fancy (Dec. 17), Thirsty Whale Bakery, Lakes & Legends.


Of course, it wasn't all sad farewells. A burst of creativity from all corners of the metro area had us dashing to try new dishes and find new favorites. And it was expansion mode for familiar names like Boludo, Bennett's, Bricksworth and Bolé — and many other restaurants that don't start with the letter "B."

January came out of the gate strong with cocktail tinkerers at Elusive and Bar+Cart carrying cocktail season beyond the holidays.

Beverages remained a theme with Hi Flora bringing N/A, THC-spiked drinks to the table. Steady Pour, the Briar, ALTBurger and Dutch Bar drew fans to Northeast for interesting drinks and snacks. Flora Room, Public Domain and Maison Margaux showed that the North Loop is still making a strong argument as the top-shelf cocktail neighborhood in Minneapolis. And Crasqui's rum-centric drinks and stunning vacation vibes had us slow-sipping the good stuff in St. Paul.

Pastries were also upgraded with Marc Heu and La Boulangerie Marguerite finding new homes, while Bellecour officially partnered with Cooks of Crocus Hill and headed to Edina.

There was also a small trickle of places we'd been missing since the pandemic that finally reopened to a warm embrace. Zelo's returned and Band Box Diner is once again flipping eggs and burgers. Rainbow Chinese reopened its crimson-steeped dining room and families can gather at Jakeeno's once again. Plus, Saji-Ya and Emmett's Public House reopened on Grand Avenue, in a pretty new building but with all the fan-favorite foods.

With a few weeks still left to go in 2023, we have more than 150 new places to dine — and there's no sign of slowing.

January: Elusive Cocktail Bar, FRGMNT Coffee Riverplace, bb.q Chicken, the Briar, Bar+Cart, Francis, Backstory Coffee, Marty's Deli.

February: Boludo, Melt Pizza Co., Tacos Tacos Tacos, K'kinaco Nikkei & Pisco Bar, Westside Wine and Spirits, Butcher & the Boar, SK Coffee, Burger Dive at 1029, Wendy's House of Soul, Bennett's Hudson, Bricksworth North Loop, Bole Express, Muddy Tiger, Bode Gray's, Sweetgreen landed and then proliferated.

March: J. Selby's got new owners, Pinoli, Broken Clock Brewing moved, Pizza Karma Apple Valley, Wyldflyer Coffee St. Paul, Fogão Gaúcho, Green and the Grain SLP, Jakeeno's reopened, Zelo's great return, Cafe Ceres downtown, Thaliwala from the owners of Momo Dosa, Official Fried Chicken, Eat Street Crossing, FRGMNT at Open Book, Mother Cluckers pizza.

April: Hackamore Brewing, Centro St. Paul, ALTBurger, Bogart's SLP, Pizzeria Social, Kruse Markit, Wandering Leaf Brewing Co.

May: Oro, Herbst, Gai Noi, Maison Margaux, Bakehouse, Marc Heu, Big E, Lost Bay, Montego Blue, Paulie's, Mochi Nut, Master Noodle, Vitali's Kitchen, Mito, Sushi Train, Relish, Harmony Coffee and Vinyl Shop, Dutch Bar.

June: Cooks | Bellecour Edina, Indigenous Food Lab, bb.q Chicken, Southern Social, Star Bar, Tous Les Jours Cafe, Dave's Hot Chicken, Social Kitchen and Libations, Howard's Bar, Hope Breakfast Bar Eagan, Misfit Coffee, Painted Turtle, Bear Paw Pizza, Spicy Feta takes over the Naughty Greek, Tender Lovin' Chix.

July: Bullvino's Bloomington, In Vino Veritas, Goorgoorlu, the Puttery, Rainbow Chinese dining room, Don Papi Chulo, Milly's Wine Bar, Layline, High Hat, Union Hmong Kitchen, Luna and the Bear, Egg on a Roll, Hi Flora, Puralima, Steady Pour, Badger Hill Brewing/Bravi's, Fawkes Alley Coffee Shop, Tomo Mojo Richfield, Where's the Flour?

August: Porzana and the Flora Room, Crasqui, Baba's, Fool Me Once, Seward Cafe reopened, Northern Coffeeworks, Brazin Public House, Homshuk, Boga Ice Cream & Burger.

September: Ullsperger Brewing (a nano brewery), Martes Tacos, the Camden Social, Zhora Darling, Cafe Meow, Habanero Tacos, On's Thai Express, King Coil, Wrestaurant at the Palace, Soul Lao, Niko Niko Boba, Pints & Paddle, Rumba, Band Box Diner, Momento, Erta Ale Ethiopian Restaurant.

October: South Lyndale Liquors, Litt Pinball Bar, Hourglass Cafe, Pimento on the Lake, Red Cow Wayzata, Silver Fern, Slice Brothers, Breva Bar & Grill, Momo Dosa at Midtown Global Market, Masa and Agave, Brasa Hopkins, Yum Woodbury, El Sazon Cocina & Tragos, Neon Tiger/Public Domain, Sweet Paris Crêperie & Cafe, Mi Mexico Querido, B'beri Desserts, Northern Soul at the airport.

November: Olio, Pauley's Irish Pub, Golden Thyme Presents, Viking & Goddess pie window, Smashpark, Kim's, Saji-Ya and Emmett's Public House.

December: 801 Fish, Olio, Oakwood Cafe, GoodThings Cafe.