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Sqirl, Mozzaplex and Taco Maria will close their doors for now

Sqirl will end pickup and delivery after Friday.
Sqirl will end pickup and delivery after Friday.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Sqirl, Mozzaplex and Taco Maria, among the region’s most celebrated restaurants, announced Tuesday that they were suspending takeout orders, joining thousands of others that have decided to temporarily close during the coronavirus outbreak.

Sqirl, Jessica Koslow’s hugely popular all-day spot in Virgil Village, will close after service on Friday.

The restaurant had been busy since switching to pickup-and-delivery-only two weeks ago. And although Sqirl had implemented safety measures including marking the sidewalk outside to maintain physical distancing and allowing only one customer in at a time, Koslow said her employees were increasingly antsy about remaining open during the pandemic.

“You really have to listen to your team,” she said Tuesday afternoon while restocking the cold case at Sqirl Away, the marketplace she opened last week next to her restaurant. Closing for now will help hit the “reset button.”

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Onda, her new all-day restaurant in Santa Monica with Gabriela Camara, will remain open for now, she said.

Sqirl, meanwhile, will transition into a temporary relief center for restaurant workers, the new home of a program (funded by Maker’s Mark and the Lee Initiative) that was previously operating out of Nancy Silverton’s Chi Spacca.

Every night starting Saturday, Sqirl will provide free to-go dinners along with staples and household essentials for restaurant workers who have been laid off or who have had a significant reduction in hours and/or pay; pickup will be in the Sqirl Away space.

Sqirl will still be fulfilling online orders for jam and other items, the restaurant said in an Instagram post.

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“We’ve survived these last two weeks thanks [to] our staff’s professionalism, hustle and guts,” the post said. “But these are trying and stressful times.”

On Tuesday night, Nancy Silverton’s trio of restaurants at the corner of Melrose and Highland avenues all announced that they would be closing “until further notice.”

“The health and safety of our team, guests and community have always been and will always be our top priority,” read identical posts on the Instagram accounts of Pizzeria Mozza, Osteria Mozza and Chi Spacca; all had been offering to-go items through Mozza2Go, Silverton’s longtime takeout spot, during the city’s restaurant shutdown.

Nancy Silverton at Pizzeria Mozza.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

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In Orange County, Taco Maria — the No. 3 restaurant on The Times’ 101 Best Restaurants list last year, said Tuesday that it had ended its takeout service.

The open kitchen at Taco Maria in Costa Mesa. The restaurant has ended its takeout service.
The open kitchen at Taco Maria in Costa Mesa. The restaurant has ended its takeout service.
(Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times)

“We’ve decided to close all operations temporarily with the health of our families and guests in mind,” the Costa Mesa restaurant said in an Instagram post. “Thank you for your overwhelming support over the past two weeks. Please check back for updates on our reopening.”

The upscale Mexican restaurant by Carlos Salgado had been offering a menu of approachable carryout items including burritos, hot wings, beans and salsas.


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