Dozens of hungry customers arrived at the Country Kitchen restaurant in Hesperia only to find the popular eatery had permanently closed.
A sign posted on the front door of the restaurant on the corner of Main Street and I Avenue said, “Thank you for all your support throughout the past years, We appreciate you all!”
A senior couple, who identified themselves as “Chris and Georgia,” said they were disappointed after traveling from Victorville to the restaurant for lunch.
“There are many places to eat between here and home, but we enjoy the Country Kitchen because of their food, specials and senior discounts,” said Chris.63. “We’ve been loyal customers for years and now they’re closed with no notice.”
Several residents said the restaurant abruptly closed after April 1 while others said Monday was the store’s last day.
Several messages with the Madison-based Wisconsin-based company were not returned on Friday.
The full-service restaurant served comfort foods, a large array of desserts and drinks from an extensive Cafe CK menu, filled with iced coffees, lattes, mochas, cappuccinos and signature drinks.
Several customers said they enjoyed the restaurant’s pancakes, omelets, breakfast skillets, burgers and pies.
A banner located outside the building Thursday flapped in the wind as it advertised breakfast, lunch and dinner served all day from the restaurant that billed itself as “A place like home for over 80 years.”
James and Gladys McKinney, both in their late 70s, said they traveled from Apple Valley to dine at the restaurant.
“We either order the turkey, chicken or meatloaf for lunch or dinner,” Gladys McKinney said. “Sometimes we order the apple crisp or share a strawberry sundae.”
The company website on Thursday listed 18 Country Kitchens across the U.S. and mainly in the upper Midwest. Also, the California stores in Big Bear and Moreno Valley.
The same day, on the company’s Facebook and Instagram accounts, they posted a photo of the Hesperia store with the caption, “It’s so fun to see how different our stores look. From the CKs of the past to the ones of the present – it’s always a place like home!”
Former store co-owner Maha Ismail told the Daily Press on Thursday that his team sold the business about two years after first opening in 2016.
During that time, Ismail and his team extensively remodeled the building, the former home of Carrows restaurant which had closed about a year earlier.
The building was built in 1984 for Coco’s Bakery Restaurant.
Ismail said his sister and brother-in-law approached the company with the idea of occupying the building.
During that time, the Carrows in Hesperia, along with the Coco’s in Victorville and Barstow, had all closed unexpectedly in 2015 after Food Management Partners acquired the businesses from Carlsbad-based Catalina Restaurant Group, according to a previous Daily Press story.
Daily Press reporter Rene Ray De La Cruz may be reached at 760-951-6227 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @DP_ReneDeLaCruz