Morton’s steakhouse closing permanently in Denver during coronavirus outbreak

Downtown Denver will begin to emerge from the coronavirus shutdown next month, likely with a number of restaurants shuttered for good, and at least two fewer national steakhouses.

The Palm closed early in March after more than 20 years on Lawrence Street and, just this week, Morton’s asked customers to clear out their wine lockers, since the Wazee Street restaurant won’t be reopening.

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“Due to COVID-19 and the city’s elimination of dine-in services, we have decided to enforce our lease provisions and terminate our lease,” Morton’s COO Tim Whitlock said in a press release. “We are grateful for the support of our community throughout the years and encourage our loyal patrons to visit us at our sister properties.”

Morton’s sister restaurants in Denver include Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Henry’s Tavern, Del Frisco’s Grille and the restaurant at the Downtown Aquarium. Based in Texas, its parent company, Landry’s, this year purchased the Palm restaurant group for $45 million before shuttering multiple locations of that steakhouse.

Several more Morton’s this week reportedly closed permanently across the country as well, including in New Orleans and Indianapolis. While many smaller restaurants are expected to shutter due to the coronavirus, large steakhouse chains have become a lightning rod for disparities within the wider restaurant industry.

For example, last month, Ruth’s Chris faced widespread criticism for its application to and acceptance of federal paycheck protection money, resulting in the company returning its loan for $20 million.

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