November 19, 2013 - 3:54 PM
KELOWNA - After eight and a half years, the East Side Mario’s Kelowna location will close its doors forever.
It's been up for sale for more than two years and restaurant staff was informed eight weeks ago owner Blaine Turner has decided to shut it down Dec. 23.
Emma Williams is the general manager and has worked for the chain for 15 years.
"I was really sad to hear the news,” Williams says. “There isn’t any financial or legal reasons why we’re shutting down. It’s not that we’re going bankrupt or anything. The owner just wanted to move on to something else.”
The popular chain has over 70 locations, most of which are located in Ontario. It has however had a hard time competing with established West Coast chains like Boston Pizza. The only East Side Mario’s left in B.C. is now located in Cranbrook.
Ranked 203 out of 569 Kelowna restaurants on Tripadvisor.com, East Side Mario’s specializes in Italian-American cuisine and strives to recreate the feel of a New York pizza shop. It was started in 1980 in Sudbury, Ontario and is managed by parent company Prime Restaurants, which controls more than 150 restaurants in North America.
“There are 40 people that work here and they all want to work until the end,” Williams says. “Some of the staff have already found other jobs and the morale is still really good. We want to encourage our regulars to come down for one last great meal.”
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013