While diners dug into their oversized onion rings and loaded quesadillas, some didn't know that the sluggish economy was taking a big bite out of their favorite hangout, Grandma's Saloon and Grill.
"I didn't know it was closing, man," said customer Chris Scribner. "That's awful."
Grandma's, on the West Bank in Minneapolis, has been serving University of Minnesota students, and many others, for 27 years.
But the smoking ban, the nearby I-35W bridge collapse, and a few other setbacks, have eaten away at the restaurant's profits. A sluggish economy has only magnified the losses.
"There's less disposable income, I get that. Heck, all of us go out less," said General Manager Hal Holmes.
Grandma's is not alone lately. Linens-N-Things has announced it plans to close 120 stores nationwide, including one in Woodbury and one in Rochester.
The Home Depot plans to close its store in Cottage Grove and 14 others around the country.
Grandma's is a Minnesota-owned company, a local tradition.
"I'm heartbroken, but I hope it can revive," said customer Charles Scribner.
Holmes said several Duluth locations will remain open. But it's too late for the Grandma's in Minneapolis. The restaurant will close May 22.
"A Minneapolis icon, if you will," Holmes said. "27 years is a long time."
(Copyright 2008 by KARE11. All Rights Reserved.)