Durham, N.C. — It’s been five difficult months for restaurants as they’ve operated under COVID-19 restrictions.
For a long-standing Durham restaurant, the pandemic has forced the owners to permanently shut the doors.
Eric Turner, co-owner of Rudino’s Bull City, said recent events concerning COVID-19 have proven to be more than they can handle. The community staple has been in business for 18 years.
Rudino regulars packed the house on Wednesday to show their support one final time before the doors closed at 3 p.m.
“Everybody is so disappointed. That’s all I keep hearing is 'No, No.' They didn’t know we were hurting like this,” Turner said.
Turner, who has been co-owner of the restaurant for about 11 years, said the past few months have been painful.
“When the sales went down, it was hard to continue paying the rent, bills and employees," he said.
Manager Ashley Gay said that catering orders, a big part of their business, were completely cut. "That was scary," Gay said.
The company shifted business models several times this year to deal with the pandemic.
“I knew that it was going to be a struggle. We love having a full house. We love having the regular customers come in,” Gay said.
For the customers, Turner said they’ve tried everything. “We got the loan and that loan came and left really fast. It just got really hard,” he said.
Turner said he is optimistic that this isn't the end for Rudino's Bull City.