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Updated May 24, 11:57 a.m.–
By Thomas J. Sullivan–The popular Elephant Bar Restaurant on Sunrise Boulevard in Citrus Heights closed its doors to customers for the final time this week.
Vickie Robertson, now former general manager for the Elephant Bar Restaurant at 6063 Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights said by telephone that company representatives of Gen3 Hospitality, LLC, of Las Vegas, Nevada met with senior restaurant management including herself on Tuesday, May 21, and said that the restaurant would be closed the following day.
“In all, 45 employees of the restaurant including restaurant bar manager Mike Nishimura were terminated,” Robertson said. She was writing letters of recommendation for many of those employees and “that news of the popular restaurant’s closure came as a shock to staff.”
No prior notice of the restaurant’s sudden closure was given to the Citrus Heights management or staff, which hosted a “Tip A Cop” Special Olympics fundraiser by area law enforcement agencies including the Citrus Heights Police Department last week.
Robertson, who described herself being in the restaurant catering business for decades, said she was sad for the loss of colleagues at the restaurant and the public who made working at the Elephant Bar a very special part of her life.
“The restaurant required significant physical improvements which the owners, Gen3 Hospitality, LLC said they were unwilling to make,” she said. “Their decision to close the Citrus Heights location was purely a business decision.”
A statement by Gen3 Hospitality, LLC was issued on the Elephant Bar’s Facebook page on Wednesday at 1 p.m.
“We have closed the doors at our Citrus Heights location —thank you Citrus Heights for an amazing time, we love our community. Come visit us just down the road at our location in Arden (1500 Arden Way, Arden Fair, Sacramento, CA 95815) or check out our other restaurants at www.gen3hospitality.com.”
The restaurant has had multiple incarnations and names in its history going back to the 1970s when the Sunrise Mall was opened.
“We, the management, were given a week to clear out the restaurant,” Robertson said. Trucks were on the premises onloading kitchen equipment and supplies on Thursday afternoon.
Questions to Gen 3 Hospitality, LLC, regarding closure of the restaurant were directed to Rossetti Public Relations, a Las Vegas-based public relations agency. A statement released by the agency on behalf of Gen 3 said:
“While Elephant Bar Restaurant at 6063 Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights ceased operations on May 21, 2019, Elephant Bar Restaurant will continue to provide our unparallel service, hospitality and excellent food throughout all other Elephant Bar Restaurant locations including the nearby location in Arden, and other California locations in Torrance, Burlingame and Hayward.”
In March 2018, Las Vegas-based Gen3 Hospitality, LLC, acquired the brand and its seven units out of bankruptcy from Coast to Coast Entertainment, Inc. The restaurant was well known for its fusion of Pan-Asian cuisine and popular American fare, as well as its travel-themed interior décor.
According to Restaurantbusinessonline.com, Elephant Bar Restaurants have been a high-volume operation, generating an average of nearly $4 million in annual sales. The safari-themed restaurants, including the former Citrus Heights location, average 7,800 square feet and 300 seats.
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*Correction: The original version of this story included a comment from a source indicating that the Elephant Bar location in Citrus Heights was once operated as a Peppermill restaurant. The Sentinel has since confirmed that Peppermill was operated at a different location on Sunrise Boulevard. We apologize for including this inaccurate information.
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