The Northern Grille in Breckenridge, Minn., is out of business. The restaurant and meeting facility abruptly closed at the end of the day Sunday and is up for sale.
Owner Dennis Johnson said a decrease in business was the deciding factor in closing.
“The fact is, business has slowed,” he said Monday afternoon. He and his wife, Diane, bought the business in 2004. They recently decided it was time to move on. Both have other full-time careers.
“We’d like to thank all our customers for everything they’ve done for us in the past,” he said. “We’re sorry we have to move on, and want to say a big thank you to everyone.”
The restaurant employed about 25 people, Johnson said. He hopes someone will buy it and re-open it, maybe as a different type of restaurant.
“Maybe some younger people will buy it and create something new for Breckenridge,” he said.
Retired employees and their spouses from Red River Valley and Western Railroad arrived Monday morning at the restaurant for their monthly get-together, only to find the restaurant closed.
Connie Nennig, widow of retired RRVW employee Arnie Nennig, said she felt so bad the Northern had closed.
“We had no warning, it was a surprise,” she said. “The first Monday of the month the railroad guys and their wives would meet there. We always had a banquet there every spring. It was so much fun to see people you don’t get to see throughout the year.”
Nennig said she wasn’t sure where the group would move its meetings to.
“I hope that somebody can take it over. If I was younger I would, but I’m too old now,” she said.
Kenny Skoog, retired RRVW employee, said the whole group was there Monday morning for their get together, but the doors were locked.
“We didn’t know what to think,” he said. “It was a blow.”
The Northern Grille has been the meeting spot for groups including the Lions Club and the Breckenridge Rotary. Politicians have stopped by to meet their constituents there, and community meetings have been held there.
Breckenridge Mayor Cliff Barth, who frequented the restaurant off and on, said, “It’s always sad to see a business shut down. We’re hoping we can find someone who wants to get into the restaurant business. We’ll do some searching. We never want to see a business close in either town, it’s not good for the community.”
The closure comes on the heels of the closure of the Breckenridge Dairy Queen on Highway 75 and the Good Luck Chinese Restaurant on Minnesota Avenue.