A longtime Plano restaurant has closed its doors for good after the owners were unable to overcome the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The loss of the legacy restaurant likely won't be the last.
Tony’s Café opened in 1989 creating made-from-scratch meals and countless memories for diners.
The restaurant was known for its soup and cinnamon rolls, and just as popular were the owners Tony and Lina Richa.
“We loved our life. We loved our business!” Lina Richa said.
After 31 years in business, the couple said they always envisioned handing the restaurant off to their daughter or selling it to someone who could keep it going.
They said they never imagined closing it the way they had to last month.
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“It’s very emotional,” Tony Richa said, fighting back tears. “It’s not the business. It’s the people.”
Coupled with closing the dining room during the coronavirus shutdown, Richa sad the air conditioner broke in June, which was followed by an electrical shortage which ruined food in his refrigerators.
He said he asked his landlord for help staying in the place where he began his business more than three decades ago.
“No way, he wouldn't cooperate with us. He said, ‘Full rent. If you cannot pay for rent you can leave,'” Richa said.
So, days later, he said they left with no fanfare or friends, just one last photo.
“It’s not fair because you want to at least say bye to your customers,” Lina Richa said.
Business owners unable to catch up after the shutdown, like the Richas, are why the Texas Restaurant Association says up to 30% of Texas restaurants will not survive the pandemic.
Legacy restaurants may be most at risk because they are "not able to pivot as quickly," said Anna Tauzin with the TRA.
“It’s really a tragedy,” Tauzin said. “Restaurants are where memories are made and to see icons like this close down is truly heartbreaking.”
It’s a loss measured by cards and comments from diners the Richas wish they could see one last time.