There is still the faint semblance of a sign on the building at 621 N. Fourth Ave. but there is no sign of life at The B Line restaurant, the hip-and-happening little joint that has long exuded coolness on an avenue known for hip and cool.
Nearly a year after pausing operations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the restaurant is closed for good.
The door and windows facing North Fourth Avenue are boarded up and the sign has been taken down, leaving an impression of the restaurant’s name where raised letters once stood.
In an email, owner Peter Wilke, who also owns the nearby Time Market at 444 E. University Blvd., confirmed that he closed the restaurant, which opened in 2002.
“Right now no decisions have been made and I don’t have any plans in place,” he said.
Last March, when restaurants were forced to close their dining rooms in response to the pandemic, B Line announced it was following the lead of many Tucson restaurants and shifting to takeout only. The following day, the restaurant announced on Facebook that it was “suspending operations.”
“We hope the best possible curve for this pandemic and will re-open as soon as it is responsible to do so,” the Facebook post said. “Thank you for your support. Stay home and stay healthy Tucson!”
B Line never reopened.
For nearly 20 years, the B Line, known for its bistro-casual menu at diner prices, was a popular go-to restaurant for residents of the neighboring West University area student housing complexes. Most were drawn to the restaurant by its price range — most meals were in the $9 and $10 price range — and the quality of its food, from the mahi tacos and salmon salad to steak tacos and tuna fish sandwich kicked up with horseradish and sweet raisins with slivered almonds for crunch.
The restaurant also earned raves on Yelp for its wide selection of pies, baked daily on premise.
“The B-Line is my favorite breakfast spot in Tucson. ... And where else can you have a slice of pie with breakfast?” Steve B. from the Catalina Foothills area posted on the crowd-sourced restaurant review site in 2019.
“Now, I can add this to my list of places I go specifically for desserts,” added Tucsonan Christine F. a few weeks later. “Up close and center on their apple pie a la mode. Beautiful and delicious. Not too appley — not too mushy — just perfect. Apple pie a la mode. Almost too pretty to eat. ... Almost.”
B Line is the latest in a string of longtime downtown restaurants that have closed during the pandemic.
- Andreas Delfakis was the first to bow out, closing his Athens on Fourth Greek restaurant in June after a 30-year run.
- In a dark two-week period in late fall, downtown said goodbye to Suzana Davila’s legendary Café Poca Cosa, 110 E. Pennington St., when she announced on Oct. 16 that she was closing for good after nearly 40 years in business; and Elvira’s Tequila, Cocina & Vino at 256 E. Congress St. — the Tucson outpost of the popular Tubac restaurant — which closed Oct. 21.
- On Oct. 29, celebrated James Beard Award-winning chef Janos Wilder announced that he was permanently shuttering his 10-year-old Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails at 135 S. Sixth Ave.
Tucson restaurants that closed in 2020:
We said farewell to these Tucson restaurants and bars in 2020
The Independent Distillery
The 5-year-old downtown cocktail bar, 30 S. Arizona Ave., announced its closure in early November, saying that eight months without revenue was the dealbreaker.
El Indio Mexican Restaurant
El Indio Mexican Restaurant, 3355 S. Sixth Ave., closed in March, when many restaurants closed because of the pandemic. Now the owner, Pedro Estrella, has decided to retire and the restaurant will not reopen.
Rigo's on Oracle Road
Rigo's closed its second location, 5851 N. Oracle Road, after 10 years.
Mestizos, 1118 W. St. Mary's Road, opened in November 2019, but announced in April it wouldn't be able to continue.
Gee's Garden, 1145 N. Alvernon Way, opened in 1975, but the new owner fell behind on rent and it closed in June.
Chicago Bar, 5954 E. Speedway, opened in 1978. The owners announced it would be closed because of the pandemic in late June.
Athens on 4th
Athens on 4th had served up Greek food for 27 years when it closed in late June.
Alibaba Mediterranean, 2545 E. Speedway, closed in late June. This sign was gone and the doors locked.
Rincon Market, 2513 E. Sixth St., closed in June after the owner was unable to pay rent.
Public Brewhouse, 209 N. Hoff Ave., closed for good in October. The nanobrewery was losing money doing takeout only.
Meet Rack, known for branding its customers and an owner who called himself God, closed in October.
Green Feet Brewing
Green Feet Brewing, 3669 E. 44th St., opened in 2016, announced in August that it would close "when the beer ran out."
Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails
Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails had closed temporarily because of the pandemic, but Chef Janos Wilder announced in October that the restaurant would close for good.
Elvira’s Tequila, Cocina & Vino, 256 E. Congress St., closed permanently after months of closure during the pandemic.
Cafe Poca Cosa
After months of a pandemic closure, Cafe Poca Cosa, 110 E. Pennington St., closed its doors for good.
Perfecto's Mexican Grill Express, 1055 E. Irvington, is another casualty of the pandemic. It was a spinoff of Perfecto's on South 12th Avenue.
Bianchi’s Italian in Marana
Bianchi’s Italian in Marana, 3620 W. Tangerine Road, is the second Bianchi's location, and is now closed.
Irene’s Holy Donuts
Irene’s Holy Donuts, 340 N. Fourth Ave., will be unable to satisfy the sweet tooth of Tucsonans because it closed in February.
Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @Starburch