Two interesting local restaurants have closed in recent weeks, reducing temporarily the depth of cool funky places to eat in town. Hillbilly Tea, 120 S. First St., and Loop 22, 2222 Dundee Rd., have both closed.

Hillbilly Tea’s last day of operation was Mother’s Day, May 10. Owner Karter Louis citing  lack of foot traffic at the location as a reason for his decision. 

Carter will continue to operate his Hillbilly Tea Shack at 960 Baxter Ave. with expanded hours.  He is also continuing to develop Hillbilly Tea Smoke House restaurant in Portland, and Billy Box at Fifth and Chestnut streets, both of which he hopes to open by the end of summer.

Loop 22, owned by Eric Morris with Adam Burress and Chase Mucerino, of Hammerheads and Game, has closed at of Sunday, May 24. Burress and Mucerino were investors in the Highlands restaurant, leaving Morris in charge of day-to-day operations.

Morris  found that working 70-hour weeks was a big job, and that the always tight parking in the Highlands neighborhood continued to be a headache. Renovating the site also posed continuing problems with issues such as plumbing, which cost the partners more than they had anticipated.

Burress and Mucerino reportedly will reopen a new restaurant with a different concept in the same location, with details still to be worked out.

Morris said he will leaving to begin on a new venture with two other friends and fellow chefs Griffin Paulin and Dustin Staggers, who own Roux on Bardstown Road and Rumplings, a dumplings and ramen noodle shop on Highland near Baxter Avenue.

The three chefs, collaborators on the pop-up concept Ten Tables, have been working on a new concept and expect to unveil plans soon. Ten Tables, which had been serving twice-monthly prix-fixe menus to diners chosen by lottery at Loop 22 will continue for the next month or two at The Monkey Wrench, 1025 Barret Ave., and later expect to move the dining event to Eggs Over Baxter, which just opened at 962 Baxter Ave.