Hotlips Pizza, a Portland institution, will close three of its five locations immediately.
The 39-year-old business is known for using local ingredients and making fruit sodas. On Monday, the company said it would close locations on Northeast 33rd Avenue and Killingsworth Street, in the Hollywood District, and near Providence Park, citing economic and labor issues as well as the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is with a terribly heavy heart that we must close these beloved stores and have the first layoffs in our history,” co-owner Jeana Edelman said in a press release. “Each person is hardworking and has contributed mightily to the teams they have worked with, and to the longevity and health of our company.
Many have been with us for years, decades even. I have sincere gratitude for the time they’ve given us, and deep sadness at this unfortunate turn.”
Edelman called Monday “one of the darkest days in Hotlips’ history.”
Edelman and her husband David Yudkin own the business. Yudkin’s father was one of the founders of the company in 1984. The oldest Hotlips location, at Portland State University, closed in 2020 after being open for 36 years.
“We gave it our all,” Yudkin said in the press release, “sustaining jobs through the entire pandemic by retooling to keep our staff and customers safe, but the ongoing economic effects hurt us profoundly, as with so many other businesses.”
“We plan to move forward with a smaller crew, smaller footprint, fewer moving parts and realistic, attainable goals,” he added.
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According to Edelman, the production of sodas has also been dialed back due to supply issues.
“Soda sales are contracted back to only our restaurants,” she said. “We will evaluate next steps when the summer fruit comes in.”
According to the release, the Hawthorne and Pearl locations of Hotlips will stay open and the restaurant will continue to deliver to “all parts of Portland.”
Hotlips Pizza, a Portland institution, will close three of its five locations immediately. pic.twitter.com/hy1tsKq1g7
— NOGMagazine (@Nogmagazine) March 28, 2023
Just over three years after the COVID pandemic shut down the country, many local restaurants have closed because of it.
Due to the pandemic, Hotlips closed its store near Portland State University in 2020.