Saucebox, the long-standing downtown bar and restaurant, is the latest business to succumb to the financial strain of COVID-19.
The night spot, known for its sophisticated cocktails, pan-Asian cuisine and DJ nights, quietly announced on its website that it would be closing permanently after a quarter-century on Southwest Broadway.
"After 25 years of consistently satisfying the thirst and the appetite of thousands of loyal devotees, Saucebox is giving in to the effects of the pandemic and will not reopen," the message read. "We sincerely appreciate the love and support we have felt over the past couple decades from people of all varieties and backgrounds. We know you will miss Saucebox, just as we will miss you."
Opened in 1995, Saucebox was the second establishment from restaurateur Bruce Carey, then best known for the groundbreaking pre-Pearl District restaurant Zefiro.
"It'll be small, dark and loud," Carey told The Oregonian shortly before its grand opening, "just what a downtown bar should be."
Saucebox is the second Bruce Carey property to close as a result of the pandemic after Mediterranean-focused Bluehour shuttered in June, leaving him with two restaurants: Clarklewis, which has restarted dine-in service, and the as-yet-reopened 23Hoyt.
Controversy has surrounded Carey and his businesses this year. When the state ordered restaurants and bars to shut down in March, employees complained that Carey withheld money from their final paychecks. And in April, a former Saucebox staff member filed a lawsuit against the restaurant, alleging he was retaliated against after blowing the whistle on a racist manager.
The lawsuit remains open, according to the court docket.