You can just barely make out the letters above the glass doors that had spelled Du-Pars restaurant and bakery. Inside, you’ll see a dark and deserted dining room.
The popular retro family friendly diner on Lake Avenue in Pasadena has shut its doors for good.
“We tried,” said the restaurant’s emotional owner, Frances Tario. “It’s very sad for staff and myself but…here we are.”
Tario bought Du-Pars two and a half years ago. She also owns the Du-Pars on 3rd and Fairfax at the farmers market.
She said the location in Pasadena was already struggling to bring in customers and keep up with competition when the Safer-At-Home orders took effect mid-March.
“Due to this pandemic, it’s been horrible. It practically destroyed us because a little bit we were able to accomplish just went downhill,” she said.
Sales have continued to drop to the point where Tario sometimes only sells one slice of pie in a day.
“First, it was a pie for $15.95 and it went down to $4.95,” she said. “So how can we keep our doors open this way?”
Pasadena Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Paul Little said, unfortunately, Du-Pars won’t be the last restaurant to close.
“I call them the canary in the coal mine,” he said. “They are the first ones who are trying to operate under these new procedures, and retailers will face the same thing.”
Little said the chamber is trying to work with the city of Pasadena to establish a small business relief grant program.
He says the chamber is trying to work with the city to get a small business relief grant program in place.
Has a city done enough? “Not yet,” Little said.
California Restaurant Association President and CEO Jot Condie said the risk of more closures increases every day.
“We’re likely to see 20 to 30 percent of restaurants not reopen,” he said.
According to the L.A. County Board of Supervisors task force, 80 percent of restaurant workers have lost their jobs.
As for Tario, she’s now focused on the restaurant she has left.
“We’re sorry to see Pasadena did not make it, but we are still alive at the third and Fairfax location,” she said.