The Noriega Hotel, one of Bakersfield’s oldest restaurants, announced on Friday that it will not reopen after it closes due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The restaurant, serving traditional Basque cuisine in large portions at communal tables, had been in operation for 89 years.
The Elizalde family, who have owned the restaurant since 1931, announced the decision on Facebook and thanked “everyone who ate with us”.
One of Noriega’s biggest fans is Jonathan Gold, who has written extensively about the restaurant over the years.
“At Noriega, you serve yourself from communal plates that are brought to the table and rinse everything off with cold red wine. First there are terrines with vegetable soup, which you can add to your taste with spicy Basque salsa and a dose of cooked pinto beans, ”Gold wrote in a 1992 guide for Bakersfield. “Then comes the starter, maybe lamb stew or braised oxtails; then a huge plate of spaghetti; followed by a platter of ribs or fried chicken and the best french fries in the world; then – finally – blue cheese platters and bowls of delicious homemade flan. “
In 2011 the restaurant was named an “American Classic” by the James Beard Foundation.
On social media, fans lamented the loss of Noriega’s signature picon punch and garlicky pickled beef tongue, as well as the historic culture and community that Central Valley restaurant represented – an end of an era in Bakersfield.