Lost Bread Co. most recent closure in Philly — but not because of COVID

Lost Bread Co. at the time of opening in Jan. 2021
FCM Hospitality

The restaurant industry continues to be as volatile as the surges we face with the pandemic, and it might seem to be the case for one Center City retailer. But, it turns out it’s more than just numbers when you break it down.

The latest hit comes from Center City’s Lost Bread Co., which opened last year on 23rd and Walnut. At the time, the space was replacing Chef Tyler Akin’s former dual concept all-day cafe and Southern Italian eatery, Res Ipsa. It’s typically a bustling part of the city, but, with offices empty, cases rising and the pandemic still turning some people away from going out, the year-old cafe closed. Or, it might just seem that was the case, with many establishments closing their doors amid COVID-19.

In just the United States alone, the food and beverage industry employed 10-to-12 million people, and a huge portion of those workers were laid-off or furloughed after social distancing went into full effect with eateries closing down and reducing staff. Not to mention, many establishments that have been able to stay open have still seen extreme losses financially. The results of these unprecedented times in the food industry have caused stress, and in some cases permanent closures.

For Lost Bread Co. however, it’s reportedly because of a pending separation between the baker and operator, Alex Bois, and Avram Hornik, who owns the space. The change came quite abruptly as well, with the staff being told on Sunday and Monday that the cafe would be closed indefinitely.

For now, the cafe’s general manager, Gabrielle Abramson, launched a GoFundMe page to help the Lost Bread Co. cafe employees pay their bills. Donations will go toward rent, bills and food as staff members navigate this sudden transition. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, employees have been offered positions for similar pay at other Four Corners restaurants, according to Hornik. Bois also let the Inquirer know that in the spring, Lost Bread will resume baking at its previous home in Kensington, and would add a cafe, both under his direction. And in the interim, the business will continue to bake for its retail customers and farmers markets from its home inside Hornik’s Craft Hall complex in Fishtown while the wholesale operation is ending.

In just 18 hours after the swift closure, more than $1,700 were donated to Abramson’s page.
Lost Bread Co. at the time of opening in Jan. 2021FCM Hospitality

The statement on the page reads: “On the evening of 1/9/22, we received the call that Lost Bread Cafe would be closing immediately with no notice. We hoped it was something having to do with a COVID surge (perhaps a temporary closure), but unfortunately that was not the case. A year of hard work was suddenly amounting to nothing… a crushing blow, especially after setting sail in the midst of such uncertain times to begin with. The truth is, we all feared this day would come, we just had no idea it would be this abrupt. Please consider donating to this fund to help our former staff pay for rent, bills and food as they navigate this sudden transition. They are a very small, extremely talented group of only seven individuals who made it possible for us to keep going every day, and they deserve time to find new jobs.”

Unfortunately, that tune can be sung for many other eateries in the Philadelphia area as well. Most recently, with the restrictions with indoor dining and vaccine mandates, many establishments have become nervous; although different from past years of the pandemic, there haven’t been quite as many that have chosen to close down or “hibernate” for the winter.

To donate to the Lost Bread Cafe’s GoFundMe, visit gofundme.com

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