It’s nearly 2022, and a new year is a time for new beginnings for everyone.
But first, we can’t help but look back at some of the endings we weren’t quite ready for.
It was a tough year for … well, pretty much everything. While many Delaware restaurants, cafes and other food businesses continue to weather these tough times, others were not so lucky.
2021 brought many restaurant closures across the country, and while they did not all shut their doors because of COVID-19, another year of a pandemic and related staffing, supply and safety issues did not help.
Happily, the First State can look forward to new restaurants planning to open in the months ahead,
But first, a look back (and a few sniffles) at six we will miss that closed their doors for a final time this year:
BarRoja, known for tacos and tequila, announced on social media on Aug. 7 that they were officially closed.
“Thank you for sharing tacos and tequila with us!” they said.
“Bar Roja is now closed. We look forward to hosting Trolley Square Oyster House events here in our space, plus more exciting things to come in the future!”
Berri Yummi, Wilmington
A Wilmington staple for afterschool snacks, post-game celebrations and any time you had a craving for something sweet, Berri Yummi said goodbye early in 2021.
During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the frozen yogurt shop temporarily shut down from March to May 2020.
On Nov. 27, 2020, owner Lyman Chen posted to the Berri Yummi social media accounts the closure of his business.
“After long and hard soul searching, we have made the difficult decision not to renew our lease at Berri Yummi,” he wrote.
“Although we are very sad to announce this, we cannot help but marvel at what we have achieved together. … We want to thank all of you for the greatest 10 years of our lives. Truly something to be THANKFUL FOR! YOU ARE THE BEST FRIENDS, FAMILY, AND FANS!”
Although the official Berri Yummi social media had been deactivated, fans of the business commented on the owner’s personal Instagram to say how much they would miss the dessert place.
“Oh no! So sad! Such a special place! Thank you so much for the awesome treats, wonderful memories, and for supporting our community!” commented one fan.
“Berri Yummi was my first job, and my second home for four years. Having to lose a North Wilmington staple in the middle of a pandemic was devastating,” said former Berri Yummi Manager Nicole Donato, reflecting later on the closure.
Brunch and More, Hockessin
Brunch & More opened up on Jan. 30 with the goal of providing healthy and affordable food for their community.
On May 12, co-owner Shannon Kokoszka, the head chef, was seriously injured in a head-on collision. She eventually returned to work at the cash register but just as things were picking up again, co-owner Linda Mele also was involved in a car accident.
Earlier this month, the women announced they were closing the Hockessin cafe and dissolving their partnership.
In a social media post, Kokoszka wrote that she and Mele “feel that we are so lucky to have been partners and remain good friends.”
Fans of the business may have something to look forward to.
Kokoszka also wrote, that once she is healed, “I will be back, Brunch And More is not over. I look forward to serving the community again with my recipes.”
Duck Donuts, Newark
A favorite amongst UD students and Newark residents alike, Duck Donuts is known for their creative flavors and delicious toppings.
The donut business posted a message on the Facebook page for the Newark location on Dec. 13 that made anyone who craves the treats very sad:
“Due to the ongoing, tough economic events and upcoming changes to our location’s building, the difficult decision has been made to close our Newark Duck Donuts location.
“We have had the honor to serve our warm, delicious and made-to-order donuts in this area for the past six years and we thank the community for their support and loyalty. Our last day of business was Sunday, Dec. 12. We apologize for any inconvenience.”
This announcement was met with a couple hundred comments from disappointed fans with one saying: “Worst pastry related news ever!”
Duck Donuts fans can still find them at other locations including a Rehoboth location that is closed for the season but expected to reopen in warmer months.
Naf Naf Grill, Stanton
This Middle Eastern chain restaurant opened its doors in February 2019 and closed them less than three years later in May 2021.
No reason was given for their closure.
The restaurant was located across the street from Delaware Technical Community College in Stanton.
Naf Naf Grill has several other locations including one in Philadelphia and one in Marlton, New Jersey.
Scrumptious was a breakfast and brunch restaurant that featured frozen yogurt.
The business released a statement on their Facebook page on Jan. 5 that read:
“It is with mixed emotions that we inform you that scrumptious will be closing for good on 1/5. This pandemic has been challenging on so many levels but we are extremely heartened by the support of the community and the rallying around small businesses.
“The decision to close was not driven purely from a financial perspective but more choosing a new balance between time and money. Our objective is to focus on each other. It has been our pleasure serving, bonding and being a part of your families/palettes for even a short period of time over the last 8 years. We wish you all nothing but good health and happiness.”
Fans of Scrumptious flooded the comment section with sadness, as well as support for the small business.
“So sad! This was my favorite find in Wilmington! Thanks for all the good food and drinks, you guys had a great business! Much appreciated and will be very missed,” commented one fan.
Reporter Patricia Talorico contributed to this report.