Riverside appears headed to lose its second restaurant within a mile of each other on Airway Road as restaurants struggle to survive during a coronavirus pandemic that forced them to shut down their dining rooms nearly two months ago.
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The owners of Airway Kitchen at 4918 Airway Road announced Wednesday on the restaurant's Facebook page that they have "decided not to extend our lease agreement that ends end of the month of May" and said they would start selling kitchen equipment and furnishings.
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“We would like to thank all of our friends and family and great customers for giving us their blessings the past five years,” the owners said. “We hope this pandemic will be over soon, and maybe we can come back with a new business idea.”
An employee of the restaurant said today that the coronavirus pandemic prompted the owner’s decision.
“It’s a struggle for everybody, and it’ll take time to heal from it, so the owner just doesn’t want to continue the lease, since nothing is sure in the future,” she said.
Customers reacted to the announcement with grief.
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“Oh that's sad,” one Facebook commenter wrote. “I'll miss those gyros.”
“We greatly appreciate your kind words, (and) hopefully we’ll be able to serve you those gyros again!” the restaurant’s owners responded.
Another customer wrote, “I am so sorry to hear that you’re closing. You are all like family. Be safe.”
The restaurant, located in the Airway Shopping Center at Airway Road and Woodman Drive, is still open for carryout from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. “as of now,” Airway Kitchen’s owners said Wednesday.
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Last week, another Riverside restaurant less than a mile up the road, the Greek Isle Deli in the Page Manor Shopping Center, announced it had shut its doors permanently. Both restaurants served Greek specialties, although Airway Kitchen was larger and served an extensive menu of classic American dishes as well.
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Prior to the March 15 statewide shutdown of restaurant dining rooms, Airway Kitchen had been open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The restaurant, which formerly housed a Ponderosa Steakhouse restaurant for 40 years until 2014, seats 160 to 180, owners said in 2015.