New East Village Restaurant, Callie, Temporarily Closes Due to COVID-19

One of the hottest new restaurants in San Diego is now temporarily closed due to the coronavirus -- a constant issue for the restaurant industry

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One of the hottest new restaurants in San Diego County -- Callie in downtown's East Village -- temporarily closed this week due to COVID-19.

The special occasion eatery on Island Avenue -- which debuted this past June after many pandemic-related delays -- recently began its self-imposed closure.

According to the restaurant's website, Callie is closed through Sept. 1 due to a case of COVID-19 at the restaurant.

"There's nothing we enjoy more than welcoming you into our restaurant every night," the message posted online by the Callie crew said. "In that same spirit of hospitality, your safety and the safety of our team is extremely important to us. With that in mind, we've made the decision to close Callie for next 10 days after a case of COVID-19."

Eater San Diego lists Callie as one of the hottest new restaurants of 2021. This closure, although temporary, is a stark reminder that the ills of the pandemic have not left the struggling restaurant industry.

Opening Callie was a triumph for award-winning Chef and Owner Travis Swikard.

Swikard joined our Scene in San Diego podcast this past February to talk all about his first-ever solo project. He was excited and nervous, but just wanted to get into his kitchen and cook up some great food and make the space feel like home. You can listen to his episode here or below.

The news of Callie's closure also impacts some neighboring businesses because the buzzy restaurant brings a lot of life to the area.

StoryHouse Spirits is a block away. Bar manager Elliott Mizuki says fewer open restaurants means less foot traffic.

"It's brand new now, they have an award-winning chef, and it's really unfortunate to happen to the employees,” Mizuki told NBC 7.

 It affects the whole neighborhood, but Mizuki respects Callie's decision, with safety top of mind.

"It’s all about protecting each other. We are a neighborhood bar. We focus on the people who come to us. We need to keep the place safe," Mizuki added.

Calle is not alone.

Earlier this month, Bar One on India Street also closed due to COVID-19. According to an Instagram post, the bar said the decision was made "to protect our staff and avoid a super spreader event."

Cowboy Star, not far from Callie and also in San Diego's East Village closed for three days to allow staffers to get tested for the coronavirus. The restaurant voicemail message indicated there was a COVID-19 exposure in the workplace.

Cowboy Star reopened on Aug. 10.

Such closures can be a major setback for employees.

"It’s hurtful for people in this industry. Ten days for me as a bar manager, might put me out of rent," Mizuki explained.

With COVID cases on the rise, driven by a far more transmissible Delta variant, Mizuki said the plan of getting his crew back to work carries with it some unknowns.

"Every time we walk into work, we don't know what is going to happen. Show up, turn up, and hope the employees do too," Mizuki said.

NBC 7 reached out to Callie for an interview about the temporary closure, but we were told no one was available to speak to us Monday evening.

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