SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Western Massachusetts saw several restaurants close this year as many struggled with the COVID-19 pandemic and the rise in costs for products. Here are some of the biggest restaurant closures we saw in 2022.
After 39 years of serving the Pioneer Valley, Sylvester’s in Northampton closed their doors in May.
In a letter posted to their Instagram page, the owners said that navigating a restaurant through the pandemic has been a monumental task and they felt it was time to “simplify their lives.”
Bernie’s Dining Depot located on 749 James Street was best known for its large portions of prime rib and their distinct railroad car dining room. In June, the owners posted on social media that they have officially closed and hundreds replied with memories of the iconic restaurant.
“Well this is really sad news. I brought my dad there last year before he passed away. He loved Bernies. I am glad he got to go one more time,” said Kim.
“My first job and many great memories with many great people. Bernie’s will always make me think of my Pepe Al Fortin when we cooked side by side for years. Best wishes to everyone,” said Chris on the restaurant’s Facebook post.
The iconic Polish restaurant had been part of the community for years. The restaurant closed on June 17th but the owner said the property would be sold to the Melha Shriners.
Bill Stetson, owner of Collegian Court, told 22News he wasn’t thinking of selling the place until the Shriners approached him.
“I’m excited to hear what they have planned for the building and maybe expansion in the area a little bit,” Stetson said. “Pretty much the easiest negotiation you could have ever imagined.”
Karen Rhodes started the shop nine years ago in Amherst and opened a second location in Northampton. However, the Northampton location closed a few years after it opened.
“Our customers were there for us and we’ve become fixtures in the community in a way that has been an honor, and we really hope people can find somewhere else to have great donuts,” said Rhodes.
The decision to close came after an incredibly slow start to the summer season and the continuous rise in costs from inflation.
The Fernandez Family restaurant in Holyoke closed in July. The business has been a staple in downtown Holyoke for more than 30 years.
“It wasn’t just a restaurant really. Fernandez is a community. It’s love. They just embodied Holyoke and the spirit of Holyoke, the whole working class, and the community but most importantly they brought this community love,” said Maria Salgado-Cartagena.
The owner of the beloved food and ice cream spot closed Chubby’s after purchasing the restaurant from the original owner and operating it for nine years.
Chubby’s regularly featured Taco Tuesdays and Fish Fry Fridays and is located on Stadler Street in Belchertown.
However, this may not be the end of Chubby’s. Owner Chris Snow said in November that he plans to sell the property so we’ll see what takes over, hopefully in the near future!
Other known businesses that closed
DiGrigoli Salon in West Springfield officially closed in March after 38 years of operating. The building was converted into use for the DiGrigoli School of Cosmetology. The now former salon will be used for two new programs at the school, nails and esthetics.
““As the owner and a stylist behind the chair for 30 years, I had the opportunity to work alongside some of the most talented hairdressers (and talented is an understatement) in the world and have met hundreds if not thousands of incredible clients and people,” said Paul Digrigoli.
A.J. Hastings closed in downtown Amherst after 108 years in business. Many patrons stopped by the store on South Pleasant Street to thank the owners for serving their community, before they officially closed on July 17.
“It has been a difficult, emotional decision to close but we are ready and joyful to start new chapters in our lives,” said the owners on social media.
The Source in Northampton closed for good mid-December. A spokesperson for the business told 22News the decision was made because of the “specific business environment in Northampton.” The city is home to 12 recreational marijuana dispensaries.