Long-time SJ restaurants shutting down

July 7, 2009 5:58:13 PM PDT
The struggling economy is proving to be a recipe for failure for many Bay Area restaurants, including a few long time fixtures in downtown San Jose.

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Sonoma Chicken Coop in downtown San Jose still manages to pull in a hungry lunch crowd, but the lines certainly are not what they used to be.

"Everyone is struggling and I don't think anyone has ever seen it as bad as it is now," Sonoma Chicken Coop spokesperson Mark Carter said.

A number of well known establishments that survived Silicon Valley's dot com bust are folding in this economy.

In San Pedro Square alone, the Tied House has closed, along with Blake's Steakhouse and Bar.

Next to go is AP Stumps. After nearly 12 years of serving up signature dishes, the kitchen goes dark on Friday.

"I'm devastated and my son, I haven't even told him yet and he's going to be devastated because this is our favorite place to eat," loyal customer Kymberli Brady said.

Many say part of the problem is San Jose is not a destination city and it is tough to rely on foot traffic from events and conventions.

The co-owner of AP Stumps told ABC7 the decision to close is purely economic. The upscale restaurant simply cannot survive on one good night a week.

Another factor is that Santa Clara County's 11 percent unemployment rate means fewer people are dining out.

"We're not eating out much because times are hard and we have a little one," San Jose resident John Oum said.

While most fast food restaurants are holding onto healthy profits, vacancy signs are replacing menus just about everywhere.

Chili's Grill and Bar in Menlo Park is closing Wednesday, impacting about 60 employees. The same number of people will lose their jobs when AP Stumps closes its doors.

There will be a final farewell Friday night.

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