Update June 7: In an Instagram post, owners Candice Lin and Jarrett Wrisley on Monday announced that Soul Food Mahanakorn and its spinoff at The Commons, Soul Food 555, will be closing permanently. A third branch in Hong Kong, Soul Food Thai, will remain in business.
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A Thonglor diner known for potent cocktails and top-notch, street food-inspired recipes will close indefinitely, with its owner blaming lockdown measures which prevent the sale of alcohol.
Three months after he celebrated its 10th anniversary, owner Jarrett Wrisley said the booze ban and limited operating hours had inflicted pain in “unmanageable ways,” leading him to announce the bad news, though he hinted it may not be forever.
“To all of you wonderful people who’ve become part of our family over the past decade: We’ve made a difficult but necessary decision to put our little restaurant, Soul Food Mahanakorn, to sleep for awhile, and rouse it when things get better in Bangkok,” Wrisley wrote on social media.
The closure is effective immediately. The American food writer-turned-restaurateur reasoned that shutting the door, although “painful,” was the best strategy.
“We’ve decided that it’s the best to rest, and save our energy and remaining resources for a more hopeful moment,” he wrote, estimating that the soonest the restaurant could reopen again is when the situation returns to normal “in the next four to six months.”
Wrisley earlier told Coconuts Bangkok that revenues fell by up to 50% last year due to pandemic alcohol prohibition, on top of deep losses due to limited seating due to social distancing requirements. He called the ongoing ban “completely unnecessary,” “devastating” and “bloodbath.”
The restaurant’s outlet just up the road at The Commons, Soul Food 555, remains open.
The closure comes amid a year of uneven regulations and devastated tourism numbers, and just after the restaurant celebrated its 10th anniversary in October.
Following last week’s protests outside the Ministry of the Interior and City Hall, bar owners, alcohol importers and distributors, and F&B representatives came out in greater numbers this afternoon to pour out kegs of spoiled, unsold beers outside the Ministry of Public Health in Nonthaburi province.