Los Angeles is facing the loss of two of its most beloved dining establishments, Manzke and Bicyclette, operated by the celebrated chef duo Walter and Margarita Manzke. Set to close their doors on March 2, this marks a significant moment in the city’s restaurant industry. In 2023 alone, the area has seen approximately 70 establishments shut down.

Manzke, a fine dining restaurant that opened on Pico Boulevard in early 2022, quickly ascended to culinary acclaim by securing a Michelin star within the same year. The star was proudly retained in 2023, underscoring the consistent quality and innovation at the heart of the restaurant’s offerings. 

Beneath the fine dining space lies Bicyclette, a bistro that has captivated the hearts of Los Angeles diners since its inception in 2021. With its charm and quality, Bicyclette earned a spot among L.A.’s 101 best restaurants. It was lauded by the L.A. Times as “a valentine to the ageless Parisian bistro.”

The decision to close both restaurants was not made lightly. Walter Manzke, in a statement to The Times, expressed a collective decision made with their partners to cease operations of both Manzke and Bicyclette. Despite the lack of a detailed explanation for the closures, a representative from Sprout LA, the partnering restaurant group, attributed the decision to financial losses, as reported by Eater L.A.

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This isn’t the first time the Manzkes have faced tough decisions regarding their culinary ventures. In the previous year, the couple shut down Petty Cash Taqueria and Sari Sari Store. Each closure is a reflection of the growing financial and operational challenges within the restaurant industry. Walter Manzke has been vocal about the increasing costs of labor, ingredients, and building upkeep as significant factors impacting their businesses.

Undeniably, the pandemic has transformed the restaurant landscape, not just in operational costs but also in altering consumer dining habits. Diners have become more discerning and cautious with their spending. This adds layers of complexity to launching and sustaining new dining spaces. Despite the challenges, the Manzkes’ establishments, including the Michelin-starred Manzke and the celebrated Bicyclette, have demonstrated remarkable culinary ingenuity and provided memorable dining experiences to their patrons.

The Michelin Guide, in its 2022 edition, praised Manzke for its innovative 10-course tasting menu that skillfully blended French, Californian, and Asian influences. Similarly, Bicyclette was recognized as one of the region’s most romantic dining destinations, enchanting guests with its authentic Parisian bistro vibe, exquisite dishes, and engaging staff.

As Walter and Margarita Manzke prepare to say goodbye to Manzke and Bicyclette, they continue to operate République, another esteemed restaurant in Mid-Wilshire, Los Angeles. Additionally, they remain involved with Wildflour, a successful bakery and cafe chain in the Philippines. These serve to showcase their enduring passion and contribution to the global culinary landscape.

The closure of Manzke and Bicyclette signifies not just the end of two gastronomic institutions in Los Angeles but also highlights the ongoing challenges faced by the restaurant industry. It serves as a reminder of the fragility of even the most acclaimed dining establishments among fluctuating economic conditions and changing consumer preferences. As the city bids farewell to these culinary gems, the legacy of Walter and Margarita Manzke’s contributions to L.A.’s food scene will undoubtedly endure, celebrated through their continued work and the memories they’ve created for their patrons.