EVERETT — The Majestic Cafe shut down just before Christmas, announcing the closure by thanking patrons with a note on the door and a posting on Facebook.
The restaurant had been open for 9 1/2 years in downtown and served more than 400,000 meals, first on Hewitt Avenue and later at 2929 Colby Ave.
“Restaurants are a difficult businesss to run and more was going out than was coming in,”owner Scott Lord said.
The restaurant had been struggling for months, because downtown Everett can be up and down, Lord said. The construction of the Courtyard by Marriott — and the loss of parking around the area — made the situation more difficult.
“I think I kept the business open longer than I should have,” Lord said. “I’m in a pretty deep hole.”
Some employees are angry about the timing and handling of the closure and the lack of wages.
Blake Faircloth, 26, the bar manager, said he learned about the closure while visiting family in California when he checked his schedule on Christmas Day using an online system for tracking employee hours.
Lord held a meeting with employees in early December about the financial issues and told them he was working on finding an outside investor, Faircloth said.
“He said we were in a financial thing, but he said everything was going to work out and he would give us notice if the company was going to shut down,” Faircloth said.
Jeremy Smith, 39, of Everett, said he is owed wages for 96 hours of work. He worked the Monday before Christmas.
“I was there the last time that restaurant was open,” Smith said. “I put up the chairs for the last time, although I didn’t know it then.”
Smith, a server and buser, said it’s been difficult paying bills and rent. He was forced to withdraw from Everett Community College.
Smith and Faircloth said they felt the restaurant was popular.
“Business was good as far as I could tell,” Smith said. “The last night we were opened, we were slammed.”
Lord said operating expenses had been far more than income. He said he poured everything he had into the business.
“I’m looking at 52 years old without anything,” Lord said.
Andrew Greulich, 27, a floor manager and bar tender, said Lord called him on Christmas Eve to let him know he was shutting down the Majestic.
He said it’s difficult, but he understands that small businesses can struggle.
“I was more upset than angry,” Greulich said. “It was a blow. That was a huge part of all of our lives. We were a family there. I was really upset that we weren’t going to come back and see the regulars.”
He said he was proud of their work, adding that the Majestic never skimped on ingredients. He said the loss of wages is difficult, but he still respects Lord.
“If he found a way to open it tomorrow, I would be there dressed and ready to work,” Greulich said.