BOSTON (CBS) – Martin Thornton has owned Thornton’s Fenway Grille for 29 years. He was worried this year might be the last.
“Business just evaporated and it’s been the hardest year of my life,” Thornton said. “Every week I said ‘should I try and make it, or should I just give it up.’ I just kept going.”READ MORE: The Roaring 2020s? A Look At What The Post-Pandemic Economy Could Look Like
Like many surrounding businesses, Thornton’s was impacted by the absence of concerts and fans at Fenway during games.
Compared to the previous year, Thornton said, “I’m down over 50 percent. Probably closer to 35 percent. And that’s not enough to survive.”
General Manager at Eventide Alex Kim said, “I think I speak for everybody in the neighborhood when I say it’s rough. We had an extended patio out there, but even with that, sales are down- a lot. Fenway tends to be a Red Sox centric neighborhood, so without that it feels a little empty.”READ MORE: Police Search For Suspect After Report Of Shots Fired At Salem Walmart
A representative for Eastern Standard confirmed in an email to WBZ-TV that the restaurant is not reopening, along with Island Creek Oyster Bar and the Hawthorne in Kenmore Square. The trio is the latest to be added to the list of notable restaurants in the area that have closed their doors.
“Being someone from the inside, I can definitely see why it happened. But it just goes to show that the restaurants in general just need a lot of help,” said Kim.
Thornton added that when one restaurant closes its doors, they all suffer. “One restaurant can’t survive,” Thornton said. “We need to have a bunch of restaurants for the diversity. It’s the group of restaurants that keep people coming in, keep us surviving.”MORE NEWS: Massachusetts Reopening Plan: COVID Restrictions Loosen Monday, Including Restaurant Capacity
So far, there has been no official word on if fans will be allowed at Fenway Park this season. Red Sox Opening Day is April 1.