FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Jobs in the hospitality, food and tourism industries have taken a major hit since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
Several South Florida businesses have been forced to close with COVID-19 restrictions ultimately leading to a loss in customers.
From legendary steakhouses like Chuck’s to fancy dining establishments like Truluck’s at Galleria Mall, the pandemic has been just too much to swallow.
You can also add Texas de Brazil in Fort Lauderdale to the growing list; the Brazilian steakhouse is never expected to reopen.
The vulnerable businesses are going under after being hit hard financially, primarily because of reduced hours, new rules and a lack of customers willing to eat out in the company of strangers.
The owners of Kingshead Pub in Pompano Beach took their disappointment to Facebook, writing "sadly, with a heavy heart I announce the closing of the Pompano Beach location to this COVID mess."
The business now sits shuttered.
Marco Vico, owner of Cafe Vico Italian restaurant, has managed to keep his doors open but he said it's been a day to day struggle.
“It’s sad to see restaurants, you see big chain restaurants, like 3-400 locations around the country; you feel it,” Vico said. “It’s too bad for this, and of course you’re scared about yourself.”
Surviving without that strong South Florida tourism base and luring back weary customers into a new social distanced environment has not been easy for business owners.
"When you see days when you see nobody here, it starts to get you frustrated," said Vico. "We don't do lunches anymore, we do dinner."
The empty tables and locked doors are throughout Broward are striking; Waffleworks in Hollywood and Giorgio’s near the 17th Street Causeway. Even online the businesses are marked permanently closed.
A shell of what these longtime eateries used to be, but a fate other restaurant owners hope isn’t an ominous sign.
“People are gonna eat, they’re not gonna stop eating,” said Video.