Hugo's in Portland, once known for its fine dining menu, will be reopening with a new structure after closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Credit: CBS 13/WGME

PORTLAND, Maine — While  Hugo’s closed over two years ago due to COVID, the owners announced that Hugo’s will not be reopening in its previous form as a fine dining restaurant.

The owners say they don’t know what the space will become next, but they will be opening the doors to host private parties and small events in the interim.

If you have an unredeemed gift card for Hugo’s, Big Tree Hospitality says it will honor those cards at its sister restaurants Eventide Oyster Co. and The Honey Paw.

Johnny Robinson opened Hugo’s in 1988 as a bistro and piano-lounge as a tribute to his son, Hugo. The restaurant underwent many iterations over the years.

Rob Evans and Nancy Pugh bought it in 2000, and Hugo’s became one of the most avant-garde restaurants in the country, earning Evans significant national accolades such as Food and Wine Best New Chef 2005 and James Beard Best Chef Northeast 2008.

Big Tree Hospitality founders Andrew Taylor, Arlin Smith, and Mike Wiley purchased the restaurant in 2012. The trio renovated the space in 2015 where they say it thrived until the COVID-19 pandemic closure in March 2020.