Sentinel staff report–
Local restaurants last week received some welcome news from county health officials allowing indoor dining to return at 25% capacity, but mandated closures over the past year have left a lasting impact.
While some restaurants had reopened indoor dining prior to last week’s updated health order, Boston’s Pizza Restaurant & Sports Bar was among those announcing a reopening of indoor dining on Wednesday.
The restaurant’s franchise owner Gurtej Gill told The Sentinel in an email Wednesday his business had a difficult year first year, holding their grand opening just before the first round of shutdown orders last year. The new restaurant took over the former Logan’s Roadhouse building, and according to the company’s franchise requirements, a minimum of $1 to $2 million net worth with $500,000 is required to open a location.
“Shutdown has affected us severely and we struggled throughout the year with all the closures,” Gill said. “We had just opened about 6 weeks before pandemic hit and had trained our team, (only) to end up losing several team members and (then) rehiring and training again several times through out the year.”
Gill said he welcomes guests to come try their menu, adding: “We are following all health guidelines for our guests and team members.”
In a prior interview, Jose Osuna, owner of Panchito Mexican Restaurant on Auburn Boulevard, told The Sentinel his business also suffered during the pandemic, facing a 50% drop in business with the first wave of shutdowns last year. He struggled to stay afloat, but received an unexpected boost in customers just before Christmas, following news coverage of his restaurant’s struggles.
Osuna said he had considered the option of temporarily closing the restaurant last year, but that would have meant food spoilage and more loss. He said a temporary closure would have resulted in not having funds to re-order fresh ingredients for entrees.
Java Cherry Coffee Shop on Van Maren Lane also saw a drop in business during the pandemic, but owner Louise Hansen-Cordray said she also saw some new faces visit her shop — which she attributed to there being more people out walking in the neighborhood and dropping in for some coffee along the way. She also said a federal Paycheck Protection Program loan helped out.
As previously reported, more than 500 businesses in Citrus Heights received forgivable PPP loans during the first round of loans last summer. A Sentinel review of public data showed 67 businesses with Citrus Heights addresses listed received loans greater than $150,000 — some receiving over $1 million — while 528 businesses received loans totaling less than $150,000.
Other local businesses closed up shop for good last year, some citing the pandemic’s impact and others closing for unknown or unrelated reasons. Among businesses that closed were Pizza Rev on Sunrise Boulevard, and Burger King and a KFC restaurant on Greenback Lane.