Reports swirling on social media over the past twenty-four hours seem to indicate that Murray’s long-lived restaurant Morelia (6098 State Street) has closed its doors for the last time. Online commentators on various platforms write that Thursday, November 10 was the last day for the store, which is named after the Michoacan city. Unlike the recent closure of Hector’s in Millcreek, which saw hours-long lines of cars bob by for a last bite, Morelia appeared to be closing with no formal notice in advance.
In 2020, The Trib ran this story about the long-lived Mexican restaurant, which was facing about a 40% drop in sales in the face of an all-out pandemic. A combination of social media buzz and a swing to take-out saw the restaurant experience an initial drop in sales at more than 33 years of age. In an interview with the Trib, owner David Gonzalez reported long days and late hours to keep up with the surge in business and to sell out daily. Gonzalez reported a fourfold increase in sales.
With more than three different decades under its belt, Morelia has had a legion of local fans, not the least of which is one of the favorite destinations for a Larry H. Miller who works just around the corner (according to this Reddit thread); The restaurant’s menu featured a “Larry Miller’s Combo” dedicated to their remarkable patron until the end. That combo? Not for the faint of heart: “2 cheese enchiladas, 2 hard-shell ground beef tacos, and a bean tostada.”
In 2001, Stephanie Tanner-Brown summed up what has kept these fans coming back for Deseret News, writing, “Morelia’s makes it so freaking easy to take your family with you. The children’s platters are generous and inexpensive. There’s more food and more nutrients than any happy combo your local drive-thru can produce. They also serve your order fast enough that even if your crew is insane with hunger, they make it to the plates to arrive. And the waiters take care of things that make a big difference when traveling with kids, like: B. Not too big cups with lids.”
The closure of Morelia restaurant comes amid recent news of the loss of Hector’s Mexican Food in Millcreek and Taqueria Los Lee in South Salt Lake. As I wrote in this article late last year, a number of factors, from staffing levels to wages and inflation, appear to be putting pressure on the small restaurant sector for some time to come.
At the time of writing, the company itself does not appear to have officially announced its closure; But based on the many online sympathies from customers (and other small businesses like East Coast Subs here), it looks likely this is another company to add to the list of store closures in 2022. I’ll update the story as soon as I hear more.
Photo credit, Morelia restaurant.
Hello, I’m Stuart, nice to meet you! I am the founder, author and contributor at Gastronomic SLC; I’ve also been a food critic for more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune. I’ve worked extensively with several local publications, from Visit Salt Lake to Salt Lake Magazine, not least helping advise on national television shows.
I’m a multi-award-winning journalist and have covered the Utah dining scene for nearly fifteen years. I’m largely driven by a critical obsession with rice, alliteration, and using big words I don’t understand. What they say about me: “Not inaccurate”, “I thought he was older”, “I don’t share his feelings”.
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