The Green Valley Grill, a landmark Watsonville restaurant for more than two decades, closed its doors this week, staff confirmed.
The owner, Ray Rodriguez, told the Register-Pajaronian newspaper that slow sales and increasing costs caused financial strain that eventually sunk his once-vibrant restaurant.
"Financially, he struggled and couldn't make it no longer," said Dolores Machado, who is helping Rodriguez closed down the business.
Machado said the Green Valley Grill closed its doors Thursday, though other media reported the restaurant shut down Wednesday.
Patrons and the business community mourned the loss of the restaurant.
"We're sad to see our fabulous, iconic restaurant close down," said
Katie Mahan, chair of the Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture.
The restaurant was known for its fine-dining experience, with white table clothes, cloth napkins and a banquet room. Mahan called it "one of the best eating houses in the county for dinner."
Former employees, who asked to not be identified, have said the Green Valley Grill fell on hard more than 18 months ago. Paychecks bounced and the restaurant began stocking fewer items.
To save on costs, 14 months ago Rodriguez moved the Green Valley Grill from its longtime location at the corner of Penny Lane and Green Valley Road to a smaller space on Main Street near Auto Center Drive.
However, downsizing wasn't enough to stay in business.
“I tried to keep it open as long as I could, but it’s hard to make a living right now,” Rodriguez told the Register-Pajaronian.
Machado said Rodriguez is in the process of trying to sell the business and settle his accounts. Gift certificates will be honored, she said.
For information about the closure, reach Machado at 707-0086.