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Are some restaurant locations cursed?

3 min read


This post is by SmartBlog on Restaurants and Restaurant SmartBrief contributor Janet Forgrieve.

We all know where they are in our neighborhoods — the restaurants that are empty again or celebrating yet another grand opening. The sandwich shop determined to thrive where pizza, burgers and wings have failed in succession. The French bistro that last year was an Italian trattoria and next year may boast New American cuisine.

Call them cursed, call them jinxed, call them a leasing agent’s nightmare — they’re restaurant locations that have earned a reputation as business killers.

Cursed locations were in the news last week when the new operators of New York Burger Co. in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood brought in a priest, a rabbi and a Buddhist monk to bless their new restaurant. In a media-savvy move, the four siblings opening the burger eatery decided to try and capitalize on the spot’s cursed reputation, getting the word out to media outlets and scoring stories in The New York Times and other major media outlets about their efforts to recruit religious leaders to ban the evil spirits that had killed four previous concepts in the space of 12 years.  “We’re not superstitious — but we still want to be safe, just in case,” co-owner Elisabeth Dufeu told the New York Daily News.

Sometimes it’s a matter of physical restrictions on the location, including a lack of easy access to the front door, a shortage of parking or a dismal amount of foot traffic. Sometimes it’s an unfortunate series of less-than-stellar menus. But often, it seems, there’s little rhyme or reason.  Eateries can open in thriving neighborhoods with plenty of frequent diners, boast the best food on the block and still go under, one after the other. documented the phenomenon recently with a map of New York’s cursed restaurant locations, including a spot that housed a joint dubbed Permanent Brunch, which failed to live up to its name by closing four months after its opening.

Cursed locations live in every market, from coast to coast and in-between. Earlier this month, identified three in Toronto, along with some speculation on what might be causing the curses and the writer’s predictions on whether the curse can be lifted. One of the three -– a Puck ‘N Wings -– seems to be succeeding, packing the place more than a year after opening, apparently defying the curse that took down four predecessors in three years. It wasn’t clear whether the latest owners sought help from any higher authorities before opening their doors.

Do you believe some restaurant locations are cursed? If so, can the curse be lifted?