AKRON, Ohio — Louie's Bar & Grille, a popular spot for burgers in Akron's North Hill neighborhood for 28 years, is closing for good next week due to the coronavirus.
The last day for the family-owned business will be October 17.
The family announced the decision on Facebook. There's also a sign posted on the front door of the restaurant on East Glenwood Avenue.
"We have decided to close the business at this time due to the current issues with COVID-19 and the mandated seating capacity. Should this change, we may consider reopening," the note states.
Customers who are fans the Louie's half-pound burgers were saddened to learn of the impending closure.
"I love this place, man. We come here a lot on our lunch break. They got the best burgers in town," said Tremain Fields of Akron.
Mike Wallace, from Columbiana County, has made the trip to Louie's several times over the past nine years.
"It's a fabric of the community. It's sad that this gets taken away because of something like this," Wallace said.
The bar and grill was opened in 1992 by Christy Khoury. She passed away in 2011 from breast cancer.
Her daughter, Gia Ingarra, now manages the business.
"My mom started it with $5,000 of her own money, which in 1992 was a lot," Ingarra said.
The sizzle from the Akron staple began to disappear when the coronavirus invaded.
"Our sales virtually got cut in half from this," she said.
Ingarra said takeout never took off and restrictions on the number of tables and customers inside proved to be the final straw.
"A lot of people just didn't return. They didn't feel safe."
Ingarra wouldn't rule out selling the restaurant but believes it's unlikely at this point that it will reopen.
"It's very sad, but also I think it's the best choice for my family and I," Ingarra said.
Ingarra stressed her business is not alone when it comes to financial struggles and closures during the pandemic.
"I think a lot of places had this happen to them and a lot of good places got shut down because of this."
Ingarra said she's focusing on the many happy memories at the restaurant, including meeting her fiance at Louie's, while also looking forward to satisfying taste buds for just a little longer.
"I know it's sad for a lot of people," she said. "I'm glad we got to have 28 years here."