Am Tiirmschen, a renowned restaurant in Luxembourg City, has officially closed its doors after nineteen years.

Nestled in a medieval building in the old town's Îlot Gastronomique, Am Tiirmschen is among several well-known dining establishments in the capital to have closed their doors for good this year.

Hilary Porteous, who managed the restaurant at this popular address for nineteen years, spoke to about the decision to cease operations; the restaurant stopped serving customers at the end of October before officially closing at the end of November 2023.

The main reasons for the closure, according to Hilary, related to a changing clientele and changing trends in the city centre in recent years. She noted that about 80% of pre-COVID clients would stay for a "proper" meal (at least a main, maybe several courses) and some wine. The situation began to change already in 2019 and then, in 2020 and 2021, the hospitality sector took a huge hit as COVID-19 lockdown restrictions came into force. Whilst business began to pick up again in 2022 and particularly in 2023, it was mainly tourists who were now visiting the restaurant, ordering only a starter and or a meal to share, i.e. customers who had previously made up about 20% of the restaurant's clientele.

It was no longer her "conception of a real restaurant", Hilary said, remarking that people seemed to no longer want to go to restaurants and take "pleasure" in their meals, instead opting for fast food. She acknowledged the role played by both time and money (people's budgets) in this changing trend in Luxembourg's city centre.

Hilary explained that it was "not economically viable" to hire more staff, thus increasing costs, to serve more clients who were paying less per visit than in the past. She added that she also wanted to avoid reducing prices and risking sacrificing quality. As such, she felt that the investment that would have been needed to cover increased costs (for less revenue) was too substantial to justify taking on the economic risk. Instead, she took the decision to close the restaurant permanently, while everything could still be "paid off", thus avoiding bankruptcy.

What had not helped matters, Hilary acknowledged, was the condition of and the uncertainty surrounding the future of the premises itself. Following a failed public auction for the Îlot Gastronomique in 2022, it remains uncertain as to when (or if) the building, which would need investment for renovation, might be sold.

Hilary concluded that different circumstances (but mainly economic reasons) had led to the decision to close Am Tiirmschen after almost two decades.