DALLAS - As the pandemic drags on without additional assistance for small businesses, more restaurants say they have to close their doors for good.
One popular Dallas spot made the tough decision to close just shy of its tenth anniversary.
The Crossroads Diner is known for its comfort food and one-of-a-kind sticky buns. Owner and Chef Tom Fleming has shared many of his recipes with FOX 4’s Good Day over the years.
On Tuesday morning, Fleming posted on Facebook that he has to close the restaurant permanently.
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The Texas Restaurant Association says 15% of Texas restaurants have already closed their kitchens for good. And without additional help or more support from customers, the association predicts that number could easily climb to 40%.
Like many other small businesses, the diner has struggled during the pandemic.
Callie McClellan is a former employee of five years who went by to say goodbye to Chef Tom.
“He put his heart and soul into it,” she said.
Fleming closed his doors for good Tuesday just five days shy of the diner's tenth anniversary.
“Twenty-five fired today, including myself,” Fleming said.
In the restaurant business for 30 years, Fleming is now planning to reinvent himself.
“I have a mortgage payment feed my family,” he said. “I have bills like everyone else.”
Fleming received assistance from the federal paycheck protection plan months ago, but the support wasn't enough.
Kelsey Erickson Streufert says even after the six-week closure of in-person dining rooms ended, social distancing limits on restaurants continue to make it difficult to turn a profit.
“The repercussions could be huge,” she said. “That is why we continue to call on Congress and our president to pass another round of relief there are bipartisan solutions out there.”
Fleming wants to remind people if they want to see their favorite restaurant survive what could be a difficult winter, they need to support it.
“I fed a lot of people 5-6 days a week. It felt like a home,” he said. “I feel really bad I will no longer be able to feed them.”
Streufert says while restaurants have done a lot to be safe, regulated places for people to gather, unlike house gatherings, for people who are high risk, many restaurants are also offering to-go specials.