UPDATE: This post has been changed since it was first published. The date of the closure has been corrected. Links to stories by the Seattle Times and SeattlePI.com have been added.
Red Robin has announced this morning that it will be closing the chain's location at Eastlake and Fuhrman, the original restaurant in the chain.
The restaurant will close March 21. The lease on the building runs out in April.
A press release gives the reason for the closure:
The Company’s decision to close the University location was driven by the need for considerable investment to maintain the building and make the restaurant more efficient from an operations perspective and more comfortable and convenient for guests. The Company will continue to operate its other Seattle-area Red Robin® restaurants and has offered to relocate all of its 50 University restaurant Team Members to other Red Robin® restaurant locations. The Company may also seek an alternative location for a Red Robin restaurant in the University community in the future.
Eric Houseman, president and CEO of Red Robin, says the decision to close the original location was "very difficult, but one that we believe is ultimately in the best interest of our team members and guests." The company is now headquartered in Greenwood Village, Colorado.
Red Robin is asking community members and frequent visitors to send in their memories of the restaurant to firstname.lastname@example.org or go to the Contact Us part of Red Robin's web site. They'll be randomly selecting one entry each week for the next three weeks and awarding the author a $100 Red Robin gift certificate.
Other celebrations of Red Robin's 40 years in the community are being planned, with details to come.
History on the Red Robin is available on the company's Web site:
- Red Robin started in the 1940s as a tavern near the UW called Sam's Tavern. Sam sang with a barbershop quartet and his favorite song was "when the red, red robin comes bob, bob, bobbin' along ..." Eventually, the tavern became Sam's Red Robin and then just Red Robin.
- The tavern expanded into it's 1,200 square foot space on Eastlake in 1969.
- The first Red Robin outside Seattle -- located in Yakima -- opens in 1979.
- In 1980, the company expands to Portland.
- Headquarters is moved from Irvine, California, to Greenwood Village in 1996.
- Red Robin became a publicly traded company in 2002.
- The 250th Red Robin was opened in 2004.
- SeattlePI.com's Monica Guzman talks to the manager of the Eastlake Red Robin and also has a link to the building's King County Property Record (the building was constructed in 1916).
- The Seattle Times' Nancy Leeson quotes Anne Marie Kriedler, the owner of the building, as saying she is in the process of leasing it to another restaurant. Leeson says the property has been listed for sale since last year for $2.5 million. Read Leeson's blog post for more of the story.