HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) - The final two Silver Diner restaurants in Hampton Roads have closed.
The restaurants, located at 12581 Jefferson Avenue in Newport News and 4401 Virginia Beach Blvd. in Virginia Beach, closed Jan. 1 and did not reopen for business Jan. 2, according to a news release.
Between the two businesses, about 150 employees lost their jobs.
"Unfortunately sales never reached sufficient levels to make our stores in southeastern Virginia profitable. Facing higher costs, coupled with the monthly losses we were sustaining, we could no longer continue to operate these locations," said Robert Giaimo, Co-Founder, President and CEO of Silver Diner.
Corporate managers who came in to shut it down told 10 On Your Side giving no notice was not the intention.
"We tried to keep these places open as long as we could and had no intention of closing them until we saw no other way with the negotiations with the landlord to pay lower rent, or what have you, to make it work," said Silver Diner Co-Founder Ype Vonhengst.
Giaimo said employees at the two restaurants are being offered the opportunity to work at one of Silver Diner's 15 other restaurants in the greater Washington, D.C. area, Richmond, and Cherry Hill, New Jersey. The chain is based in Rockville, Maryland.
A Silver Diner press release said management is contacting groups who have scheduled fundraisers in Newport News and Virginia Beach to inform them of the closings.
As part of its Eat Well, Do Well initiative to promote better nutrition, Silver Diner will distribute $8,000 in checks to 15 local schools during the month of January.
"It is never a good time to close restaurants, and we recognize that the first of the year is particularly challenging," says Giaimo. "The fact that we continue to do well in our other markets is encouraging but does not lessen the pain we feel for our managers and associates in Hampton Roads or for our guests who are losing a favorite dining establishment. "
Silver Diner placed posters on store doors in Newport News and Virginia Beach alerting guests to the closings and that further information is available on its website, www.silverdiner.com .
Other restaurants shut down
According to the Frank Beamer's American Grill Facebook page, the restaurant closed its doors this morning. A post on the fan page says, "We regret to tell all our fans and loyal customers, that we've closed our doors as of today. Thank you for all your support -- game well played!"
The economy also took a bite out of business along High Street in Portsmouth, The restaurant Amore just closed and so did Montgomery Grill just down the street.
We tried to reach the owners of Montgomery Grill but the phone just rings. We learned the building is in foreclosure.
The manager at 619, one of the few remaining businesses on that end of the block, is more than a little worried.
"This is a locally owned business the owner is a Navy diver he's struggling to make it survive and our biggest issue is paying taxes every month," Mariah Pavilca told us.
She thinks cities should step up with tax breaks for new businesses but for the decade-old diner, its too late.
If you have a gift card for either Silver Diner or Montgomery Grill you can get your money back. For the Montgomery Grill you must send an e-mail to email@example.com by Jan 31. For the Silver Diner, call 866-561-0518.
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