In April 2020, Haig and Cindy Krikorian announced plans to close the Berkeley-based establishment. The owners’ decision to shut down the restaurant was influenced by two reasons. The first was their desire to retire from active business. The second was the shelter-in-place order’s indeterminate prohibition on dine-in services. The COVID-19 pandemic inadvertently influenced the restaurant’s closure. After the declaration of the shelter-in-place order on March 16, 2020, Lalime’s restaurant ceased all operations. Although the shelter-in-place order allowed for take-out service, the restaurant’s owners decided it was better to close since it didn’t fit who they were as a brand.
Slightly before they closed Lalime’s Restaurant, Haig and Cindy were starting a new Middle-Eastern, vegetarian, and vegan food project. The project was aimed at drawing a younger generation of clients in addition to the loyal regulars, who were predominantly old folks. In recent years, Lalime’s was not as busy as it used to be before and the restaurant’s owners were looking for an idea to spice up the joint. However, the COVID-19 pandemic halted these plans.
Closing Lalime’s Restaurant was not easy for Haig and Cindy Krikorian. For them, the decision to venture into the lucrative hospitality industry was not motivated by profit, but rather by passion– a passion that made leaving all the more difficult. The Krikorians have always cared about the meals they serve in their establishments and the hardest part of closing the restaurant for them is that they would no longer be able to serve food and present it to their customers. Another difficult part of closing the restaurant was its implication on the lives of their employees. Over 20 former employees of the restaurant have been struggling to make ends meet since the closure of the restaurant. Some of the measures the owners of Lamile’s have taken to alleviate the lives of their former employees include the sale of the restaurant items.
Although Haig and Cindy have retired from the industry, food will continue to be a big part of their lives. Since the closure of the restaurant, Haig keeps himself busy by making sourdough bread and sharing it with family and friends. He also loves skiing and hopes that he can use his free time to become a ski bum once the pandemic is over. Cindy on the other hand hopes to make use of her free time by continuing her work with plants and produce and teaching people about gardening at her role at Annuals and Perennials in Richmond. The couple lives in Albany and is excited about what will come next for the space that was home to Lamile’s for over three decades. Hopefully, a new person will take it over and preserve its role as a community spot. Whatever be the case, Lalime’s over three-decade legacy will continue to live in the hearts of Berkeley residents who enjoyed popping up in the area on a regular basis.