ROCKY RIVER, Ohio (WJW) — In a sad sign of the times, a popular family-owned restaurant will soon be closing after 75 years in business.
Constructed from parts of an old log cabin, the Rustic Restaurant on Center Ridge Road in Rocky River opened in 1947.
The owners of the Rustic built its reputation on family food at affordable prices in a casual setting. The restaurant became a favorite for generations of Clevelanders.
“The food is great, the service is great. It’s a fun place to go. It’s very family-oriented. It seems like everybody knows everybody here. It’s kind of like the ‘Cheers’ of the restaurants around here, everybody’s favorite,” said customer Jeff McCarty.
For even younger customers, the Rustic is steeped in nostalgia.
“Feels like home. It feels like my granny is in there, cooking up the eggs and bringing them out to me, right? It’s like family,” said 24-year-old Mary Caitrin Lynch.
Over the decades, longtime employees at the Rustic have become treasured members of many families.
Sharon Flash, who has been on the staff since 1981, told FOX 8, “Our customers are amazing. I’m very grateful for them and that’s what hurts,” as she wiped away a tear.
Kurt Riegelsberger, 58, and his cousin Gary are the third generation of their family to own and operate the Rustic.
Kurt’s son Matt would be the fourth generation, but the family has made the difficult decision to close the restaurant in 2023 after 75 years in business.
The owners say while there are many factors in the decision to close, customer loyalty is not one of them.
“People want to retire, a lot of the food cost has gone up, supply chain issues. Like, I can’t get turkey for some reason, no one has turkey today. The cost of fuel and surcharges have gone up,” said Kurt Riegelsberger.
The news is heartbreaking for customers.
“I’m so sad. I’m devastated to hear that’s closing because this is a staple,” said Caitrin Lynch.
The Riegelsberger family is selling the property to Chase Bank and inevitably the unique log cabin building will fall to the wrecking ball.
Those who have a place in their heart for the Rustic say we lose something important when a true original closes its doors for the last time.
“Mom and pop stores pop up, but it’s just not the same quality or same atmosphere,” said McCarty.
“It pulls at the heartstrings, it really does,” said Kurt Riegelsberger. “I just hope everybody has fond memories of the Rustic and my family and the staff here.”
The family has not decided on the exact day in 2023 that they will close, so they are reminding customers that there is still time to enjoy their Rustic favorites.