D.C.’s acclaimed Burmese restaurant Thamee is closing its doors permanently on January 23. Owners Simone Jacobson, Jocelyn (JoJo) Law-Yone, and Eric Wang announced the closure in an email sent to the restaurant’s newsletter list this morning.
“After nearly two years of calling on legislators, landlords, a national audience of Burmese food lovers, and local supporters for help in the face of an ongoing global pandemic, we’ve reached the inevitable conclusion we must permanently close our doors,” they said in the email.
Thamee, which opened in May 2019, grew out of tiny falooda stall Toli Moli and evolved into a full-service restaurant with national acclaim. It wasn’t easy, Jacobson wrote in a 2020 piece for Eater. “Without a built-in audience for Burmese food, we’ve had to work hard to establish one.”
Thamee gained nationwide acclaim, winning numerous awards including Eater D.C.’s 2019 Restaurant of the Year. Even with Thamee’s doors closed to the public, Food & Wine honored the Burmese hit as one of the 10 best new restaurants in America.
When Thamee reopened on-site dining this summer, a couple months after D.C. lifted the pandemic-induced restrictions for restaurants, it ditched fine dining in favor of fast-casual because of the nationwide labor shortage caused by the pandemic.
“I would rather have fast, friendly, casual service than service that just doesn’t hit the mark,” co-owner Simone Jacobson told Eater in late July.
Though diners approved of the new approach, the pandemic continued to make the restaurant’s survival difficult. By January 5, Thamee started the new year with a return to the takeout and delivery model and a plea for support.
By 8 a.m. this morning, the owners shared the closing news. “This is a bittersweet goodbye for us all.”
Until closing, the restaurant will continue to-go food service and offer wine, beer, and pantry items at half off.