Celebrity Chef Brian Malarkey Temporarily Closes All Restaurants in SD Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

The closures for all nine Puffer Malarkey Collective restaurants across San Diego County begin Sunday

Chef Brian Malarkey on the TV show "Top Chef"

Celebrity chef Brian Malarkey announced he would temporarily close all nine of his restaurants across San Diego County – including the wildly popular Herb & Wood in Little Italy – effective immediately, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact life in San Diego.

“On behalf of our staff and community and in the interest of keeping our city safe, we are temporarily suspending our operations,” Malarkey said Sunday.

“Until we can better understand this virus, we want to prioritize the health and well-being of this city we love, and we hope by taking these proactive measures that we are doing our small part to stop the spread. We’re looking forward to better days as soon as possible, and we’ll be back better and stronger than ever before. Thank you for your support, San Diego, we love you," he added.

The San Diego-based chef, restaurateur, and "Top Chef" alum co-operates the Puffer Malarkey Collective restaurant group alongside Chris Puffer.

The group’s eateries include:

  • Herb & Wood in Little Italy
  • Herb & Eatery in Little Italy (next to Herb & Wood)
  • Animae in downtown San Diego near the waterfront
  • Nima Café in downtown San Diego near the waterfront
  • Farmer and The Seahorse in Torrey Pines Business Park
  • Green Acre Nautilus in Torrey Pines Business Park
  • Wood Yu in Torrey Pines Business Park
  • Green Acre Campus Pointe near UC San Diego
  • Herb & Sea in Encinitas

The Puffer Malarkey Collective said it would also shut down its venues in Orange County, for now.

The closures are effective starting Sunday. It is unknown, at this point, when the businesses will reopen. Animae, Nima Café, Herb & Sea and Wood Yu are all relatively new to the San Diego restaurant scene.

“While we wait to reopen, we’re encouraging our staff to spend time at home and with loved ones. We hope you’re able to as well,” a statement released by the restaurant group added. “We know we’ve said it before but we’ll say it again - we’ll weather this storm, together. We will be back stronger and better than ever. We’re looking forward to rolling up our sleeves and working together to get this crisis under control and ultimately come out ahead.”

Malarkey posted a photo to his Instagram page Sunday morning showing his staff holding bags of produce and food. The chef said he would be sending all of the leftover food from his restaurants home with his employees.

NBC 7 is reaching out to other prominent restaurant groups in San Diego to see if they have similar closures planned for their businesses.

For the latest information on what you need to know about COVID-19 in San Diego County, click here.

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