Lio restaurant in Portland has closed. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Cara and Cecile Stadler, daughter/mother co-owners of Lio in Portland, announced Wednesday they are closing the restaurant immediately – but the closure may not be permanent.

“Due to the increasing uncertainty of the pandemic, and its economic impact on all of us, we have made the painful decision to close Lio Restaurant effective immediately,” they wrote in an email note to their newsletter subscribers. “Our other restaurants – Tao Yuan Restaurant and BaoBao Dumpling House – will remain open for takeout only and curbside pickup only.”

In a phone interview, Cara Stadler said she hopes she can reopen Lio in two weeks, but the decision will depend on finances and staff availability.

All three of her restaurants laid off front-of-house staff when the state ordered restaurant dining rooms closed last week because of the pandemic. Stadler said some employees left of their own volition because they felt unsafe dealing directly with the public, either in the dining rooms before they were closed or through curbside pickup now. Two employees lost their jobs with Monday’s closure of Lio; other staffers were transferred to Bao Bao and Tao Yuan, where sales have been higher.

“We are trying to absorb as many people as possible,” Stadler said.

Stadler said even Portland restaurants that have managed to stay open so far by serving meals for curbside pickup are hurting because they can’t bring in as much revenue.

“Restaurants are an experience,” she said. “To a certain extent you can make up for some of that experience with to-go, but you can’t deliver all the other little things.”

Payments for prepaid meals from Lio will be immediately refunded. The Stadlers had relaunched the almost two-year-old restaurant last fall as a wine and tapas bar.

Bao Bao Dumpling House in Portland is open for takeout from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Tao Yuan in Brunswick is open for takeout from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.


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