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A Fixture of Crystal Palace’s Restaurant Community Shuts Down After 45 Years

Fresh from raising almost £740,000 for his pasta group, Will Ellner has closed Joanna’s, citing “current economic conditions”

A dark wood-panelled restaurant bar, with glass shelves holding bottles of alcohol and glasses, and brown leather stools in front of the bar. Tables, in a similar style, can be seen off-left.
The bar at Joanna’s restaurant, in Crystal Palace, which has closed after 45 years.

A long-serving restaurant in southeast London has shut down after 45 years, with the current generation of its owning family citing the “current economic conditions.”

Will Ellner, who took over Joanna’s on the Crystal Palace triangle in 2003, announced the closure of the much-loved bistro on Instagram, saying that while he had made the decision “with the heaviest of hearts,” the impact of COVID-19, Brexit, and recent price rises had been “unfortunately too much for us as a small business to overcome which has led me to make this difficult decision.”

Evolving from opening in 1978 as something of a tribute to Deep South Americana, into a buzzy, comfortably contemporary and European sort of restaurant, it remained a fixture of the Crystal Palace restaurant community through all of its iterations. Accomplished pasta, well-judged steaks from local butcher Flock and Herd, and hearty but exacting braises, pies, and Sunday roasts were calling cards in its later years.

Ellner will now focus on his two-strong group, Bancone, which despite the “current economic conditions,” recently raised £740,000 to expand its slick and sleek pasta restaurants beyond Soho and Covent Garden.