The Restaurateur Behind Nel Centro and Altabira Permanently Closes All Five of His Restaurants

Owner David Machado says the road to reopening isn’t viable with the current pandemic guidelines and restrictions.

Altabira. IMAGE: Christine Dong.

In a sweeping blow to the city's culinary community, restaurateur David Machado has announced he will permanently close all five of his Portland restaurants due to the economic fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak.

That includes Altabira City Tavern, Citizen Baker, Nel Centro, Pullman Winebar & Merchant, and Tanner Creek Tavern.

Machado told Eater, which first reported the news, that he believes the road to reopening isn't viable with the current pandemic guidelines and restrictions. He cited swelling costs for labor in order to keep up with the extra sanitation that would be needed to keep customers safe, as well as an estimated 50 to 70 percent drop in revenue with fewer people dining out during a health crisis. Many of his restaurants are in hotels and adjacent to performance venues like the Rose Quarter and Keller Auditorium.

A Massachusetts native and graduate from the first class of the California Culinary Academy, Machado opened his first restaurant in California 1986 and later moved to Portland, opening two restaurants that became icons of their eras: Pazzo Ristorante and Southpark Seafood.

Machado's current portfolio of restaurants kicked off in 2009 with downtown's Nel Centro, best known for its French-Italian fare, dazzling patio space and always-packed dining room.

He then opened Citizen Baker in the Lloyd District, Tanner Creek in the Pearl, and Altabira and Pullman Winebar in the Hotel Eastlund across the street from the Oregon Convention Center.

Related: With Fancy New Hotels Come Fancy New Hotel Bars. Here's a Review of the Most Recent Batch.

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