One East Grand Forks fast food restaurant has closed, and another restaurant has announced its upcoming closure.
Burger King on DeMers Avenue, near the intersection of U.S. Highway 2 and Minnesota Highway 220, has closed, and Italian restaurant Mama Maria’s will close at the beginning of March.
It is unclear why Burger King shut down, but all signage has been removed. According to a message on the door, the closure is permanent. The restaurant closed during the week of Jan. 4.
Mama Maria’s, located downtown in the Riverwalk Mall, will close on March 1. Ownership of the restaurant made the announcement on the business’s social media page on Jan. 8. Kristen Scheving, along with her brother, Justin Hatcher, and grandfather, Steve Yanisch, bought the restaurant in June 2019. The social media post states they will give up their lease in the mall at that time.
“(It’s) just stuff with COVID, complications with COVID,” Scheving told the Herald in a Tuesday, Jan. 12, phone call. “It’s a slower year, definitely. I mean it’s only our second year that we’ve had it.”
The dining room will remain closed through January, but the owners will decide in February if they want to re-open for in-person service. Scheving said the restaurant will continue to offer takeout through a third-party delivery provider and curbside pick up.
Scheving told the Herald it is in the restaurant’s “best interest” to not reopen the dining room, despite the state recently relaxing COVID mitigation measures that barred restaurants and bars from having customers on the premises. The decision is partially based on the number of orders being received, she said.
“It's just how busy it is and whatnot; we kind of have to base it off that,” she said.
But Scheving did not rule out the possibility of bringing the restaurant back at some point. The online closure announcement reads: “We hope this isn’t goodbye forever, just goodbye for now."
“Hopefully, maybe someday, we can look into a different space, but, for now, it's just not working out with all the COVID stuff going on,” she said.