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Landmark New York City restaurant Sammy’s Roumanian Steakhouse has closed its iconic basement-level doors as the coronavirus pandemic continues to cripple the restaurant industry.
The Lower East Side fixture was famous for its latkes spreads, chopped liver, and vodka bottles frozen in blocks of ice and was known as a boisterous party spot frequented by celebrities.
The Jewish Romanian restaurant announced the closure on Sunday.
'It is with great sadness that we announce that the rumors are true and we have had to shut the doors to the infamous basement,' the eatery announced on Instagram.
Sammy's Roumanian Steakhouse is one of more than 1,000 restaurants that have been forced to shut down due to the pandemic which has placed strict limits on indoor and outdoor dining.
However, owner David Zimmerman 'intends to open the restaurant in the future', but it’s unclear if it’ll revive in its current home on Chrystie Street in Manhattan.
'We got to be somewhat back to normal,' Zimmerman said to Gothamist when asked about a reopening date.
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'Sammy’s Roumanian is more than just a restaurant. It’s a community. A celebration of tradition. An experience difficult to put into words. It’s where families come to dine weekly, where partygoers begin their night (if they survive the frozen vodka), and where Simchas are celebrated,' the restaurant wrote on Instagram.
'What began 47 years ago in a basement in the Lower East Side, on grungy Chrystie Street, grew into a place that welcomed hundreds of thousands of guests and employed thousands of people over the years.
'We sincerely want to thank all of our valued guests and especially our staff for keeping us alive and kicking all these years. Our heart breaks for our employees and all the others affected by the pandemic in our community and across the globe. It’s truly tragic yet we are extremely humbled by all your support. To survive 47 years is an accomplishment which we are proud of,' the restaurant added.
'We may be closed now, but when all this is over and we feel safe enough to hold hands during the hora, we will be back stronger, louder, and tastier than ever before. We are New York. We will survive this. We will always cherish the memories we shared with all of you,' it added.
Limits on indoor and outdoor dining have made is difficult for the once-thriving industry to survive, leading eatery owners to call for more state and federal financial aid.
On December 11 indoor dining was officially banned indefinitely following an uptick in COVID-19 cases in New York.
On December 29 several New York restaurants filed lawsuits against the state over the indoor dining ban, citing state data that showed only a small percentage of new COVID-19 cases were linked to indoor dining.
New York has recorded more than 1million positive COVID-19 cases and more than 30,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.