CASCADE, Mich. — An iconic diner on 28th Street is closing its doors, saying 2020 and the pandemic were "just too much for us."
Dan's Diner in Cascade, formerly Pal's Diner, made the announcement Tuesday morning on their Facebook page.
“It is what it is, you've got to move on," owner Dan Chudick told FOX 17.
"Since, you know, the big resurgence of COVID, we've seen our numbers go way down, I mean, way down in the last two weeks.”
Chudick purchased the diner in 2018 when it was called Pal's Diner, and made the restaurant his own, serving classic diner fare fresh and local.
They made it through the first round of shutdowns by switching to take-out orders. Long-time customers, like Patrick Webster, did what they could to keep the iconic diner afloat.
“They couldn't open at all, except for just pick-up type of food. So I did that, and a lot of it was because all the customers agreed that we wanted to keep this small type of business open,” Webster said.
While they made take-out work for them, Dan says the idea of limiting seating inside a diner just doesn't.
"The diner was made to be, so you could be with people, around your friends, and all that," Chudick said Tuesday.
“When I’m at 50%, I've got 4 tables and 7 seats at the bar, that’s it, and the deck. Well, you cant sit on the deck in 20 degree temperatures and 50MPH winds."
So, on Tuesday Dan and the rest of his staff said their goodbyes to the customers that have become like family.
After working for 30 years in the West Michigan restaurant industry, Dan is likely to stay in the area for his next venture. For now, he's going to enjoy a little time off for the holidays.
"It's been a lot of years working in this industry and you work a lot of holidays, so it will be nice to relax for a week, maybe go do some fly fishing, roast a turkey," he said.
And one day in the near future, what was once Pal's Diner and then Dan's Diner, could be re-born as something new.
“It may take a little while for somebody to be able to pick it up and run it again," Webster said.
"But that will just be another chapter in the history back there right now. We're just closing chapter 2, there will be a chapter 3 and more after that."