MILL VALLEY, Calif. (KGO) -- Residents in the North Bay are surprised by the sudden closure of a popular restaurant owned by Bay Area rock legend Sammy Hagar. Many employees and customers were greeted by a note left on the front doors.
Rock and Roll Hall-of-Famer Hagar's sudden departure from the local restaurant business has left Mill Valley bewildered.
"Shock and awe," said merchant RIchard Habib. "Totally unexpected."
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Habib runs the rug shop next door to Hagar's upscale eatery El Paseo, where the lights are still on but a note on the door from Hagar says "After 7 years, running the restaurant became too time consuming."
Customers who called the restaurant got a message saying, "We regret any reservations you made are canceled."
"Someone who showed up for work were told 'no work' and got a severance check," said Habib.
"It's been around a long time, changed chefs recently," said Mill Valley resident Victoria Woo.
"It's sad for the community. It was a great resource. People loved going there," said business owner Debbie Ratner.
The original El Paseo dates back to 1947, built inside a European style corridor of quaint brick walkways.
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In a statement, Sammy Hagar told ABC7 News: "Right now, all my focus is with my main career as a musician, so I've decided to give El Paseo a summer hiatus but I definitely do not see the doors closing for good."
"He's a busy guy with a lot going on," said Jim Welte of the Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce, who adds that Hagar calls Mill Valley home and is always going back.
"He's not just a rock star who owned a restaurant, he regularly holds fundraisers for nonprofits," Welte told ABC7 News.
In 2015, Hagar's Rockin' Island Bar and Grill in Roseville outside Sacramento closed because it was losing too much money.
Still, Hagar remains no stranger to the restaurant business. He still owns several restaurants around the country.
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Sammy Hagar's El Paseo closes abruptly in Mill Valley
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