Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea
An employee lowers the blinds in an empty Shari’s at 5 p.m. Tuesday after the restaurant closed with virtually no notice.
As of Friday, January 11, 2019
Stacks of Shari’s trademark pies were in the back seats of employees’ cars, not on dining room racks, Tuesday at 5 p.m. as the restaurant abruptly closed.
The 24-hour restaurant on the Heights, known for late-night noshes and hearty breakfasts, along with its slices and whole pies, was shuttered after the lunch shift. Cars and a rented moving truck at the back door were being loaded Tuesday and Wednesday.
An employee phoned the Hood River News Tuesday to report she had just shown up for work at 4:30 p.m. and was told the restaurant was closed for good. It was first constructed in 1980.
The closure leaves a hole in the local food scene; Shari’s was the only 24-hour restaurant in town, and its menu and scheduled appealed to a wide range of community members and pocketbooks.
A sign in the door stated “lease expired” and directed diners to the Shari’s locations in The Dalles and Troutdale.
“They pulled the plug,” said Stephen Ford of Current Commercial of Hood River, which handles the leases in the Hood River Shopping Center for owner Idaho-based Alpine Investment Group.
Ford said he had thought the restaurant would stay open at least through January, but was surprised not only by the timing of the closure. Ford said he realized last week that among employees, there was an apparent lack of awareness of the impending closure, based on conversations he had. Ford said the company had worked with Shari’s for the past 18 months to try to restructure the lease, including offering to pay for interior upgrades.
Employees at the restaurant declined to comment Tuesday, and requests for comment to the marketing department at the Beaverton-based main office were not answered before press time.
“We offered a significant reduction in the lease,” Ford said. “My understanding is the company believes the area population is not large enough to generate enough income.”
Ford said no replacement tenant has been identified, “but there is interest from a couple of folks.”