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'Heavy heart:' Grand Cafe West Side closes its doors

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Grand Cafe

The owner of the Grand Café West Side says he is closing the Market Street location, effective immediately.


BLOOMINGTON — The owner of the Grand Café West Side says he is closing the Market Street location, effective immediately.

Co-owner Jimmy Mapugay posted a message Sunday morning on the Grand Café Facebook page announcing the closing, saying he did so “with a heavy heart.”

Grand Café West Side at 1514 W. Market St. in Bloomington opened in September 2018. It had previously been the home of Yen Ching Express.

The Grand Café Express at 2205 E. Oakland Ave., Bloomington, opened in July 2017 as a place for employees and customers of the former Grand Café in downtown Bloomington, which was closed for renovations.

The 96-year-old Chinese-American restaurant at 615 N. Main St. was one of Bloomington’s oldest restaurants, but eventually closed and was sold to Mapugay. He said that he hoped to find investors or get a loan from the bank to finance the reopening of the former Grand Café building in downtown Bloomington, but was unable to do so.

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“Since we opened the Market Street location, our sales in Oakland went down, so basically what happened is that the customer base was split, and the numbers that we projected for Market Street simply (weren’t) there,” Mapugay said in the Facebook post.

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“So in essence, our labor cost doubled along with utilities, taxes and insurance. Another factor we considered is our lease is up and per our agreement with the building owner, that the lease extension this time is going to be long term and I don’t think we are prepared to do that based on the numbers Market Street shows.”

Mapugay could not be reached for comment Sunday.

“I know that some of you will say that we have not been there long enough, and I totally agree,” he wrote. “But as a small local business owner, I really do not have the funds to support the shortfall. We were (on) the brink of collapse as Oakland location is pumping money to Market Street to keep it afloat.”

Mapugay said he continues to look for investors for the Grand Café and will be happy to sit down with anyone who has any interest.

“The restaurant business is grueling,” he wrote. “It’s long hours of work. Hats off to my team for being there day in and day out, along with my family. We all are very involved in running it and that’s one touch that set us apart from franchise establishments. We are a family-run business and my team is like our extended family.

“We don’t hide that we are not perfect, nothing can duplicate the old GC, but in our own little way we strive hard to serve you the food that this community enjoyed since 1921.

We thank all our loyal customers for their continued support and we apologize for those who we have done wrong, we hope that you can give us another chance. And most of all, our sincere apology to the people of (the) west side for letting you down, we hope that you understand our position.”

Contact Kevin Barlow at (309) 820-3238. Follow him on Twitter: @pg_barlow


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