According to data collected by Yelp, more than 2,700 businesses have reported being closed in San Diego County since the start of the pandemic. It includes 226 restaurants that have permanently closed, including Ebisu Sushi in Hillcrest, once owned by Han Tran and her husband.
“I have to say it was 16 great years. It’s something to be proud of,” Tran said.
She opened Ebisu Sushi in 2003. She said the business was starting to get tough and the pandemic added to the mounting pressure behind the struggling business.
“The pandemic was the nail in the coffin," she said.
She said she let go of about 75% of her staff, some who had worked with her for more than a decade.
“I watched their families grow,” she said.
She said she also shared some of her most treasured memories inside the restaurant.
“My daughter took her first steps down that hallway. She was a little more than a year old,” Tran said.
She turned off the lights for the last time in May and hasn’t felt comfortable returning since.
“It’s hard to see the place that you created your second home to be an empty shell. It’s too soon. It would have been better if I saw it become something else, giving life to another family,” Tran said. “I’d rather stay in the light and look forward.”
She’s now focusing on her other restaurant, Shank and Bone in North Park, which she is a partner in. Shank and Bone is a modern and classic Vietnamese restaurant open for outdoor dining and take out.
“We can travel a long way and still make something work. Figuratively and literally,” Tran said.
Click here for a running list of San Diego County restaurants closed since the pandemic.