Denny’s Restaurant in Columbus has closed.
Signs on the front door of the former round-the-clock eatery at 3300 Jonathan Moore Pike inform patrons of the closing but list no details.
“We would like to thank all our valued guests for your patronage over the years,” the sign reads.
The big red-and-yellow Denny’s signs had been removed from the building by late morning Thursday, but the lights in the restaurant were still on, and several people were doing cleanup.
A Coca-Cola pickup truck drove away from the premises around noon, leaving only a black Hyundai parked in the property’s rear. The car’s trunk was open, revealing several cardboard boxes.
A man who answered a knock at the back door acknowledged only that the restaurant was closed permanently. He declined to say why it closed.
Patrons, meanwhile, continued to park their vehicles in the front and walk up to the building, only to react with surprise when they read the sign.
Debbie Perkins, of North Vernon, said she had eaten at Denny’s with her sister every Thursday for about five years.
“Hate to see them close down,” Perkins said.
She liked coming to Denny’s because it offered meals other than fast food, and because of the friendly employees.
“I wish them well,” Perkins said.
As a truck pulled into the lot, Perkins told the driver that the restaurant was closed.
“You’re kidding,” the driver said, before turning around.
A short while later, Mike Hursey drove onto the lot with a friend, and the two walked up to the restaurant until one of the remaining staffers told them the the restaurant was closed.
“Why?” Hursey asked, but he got no details.
Hursey said he frequently came to Denny’s because he gets a good deal with his Senior Gold Club Card and because he liked the staff.
But he said the restaurant usually had few patrons, he said. At breakfast, he rarely saw more than eight people, Hursey said.
According to county records, the Denny’s property last was assessed at nearly $900,000. It is owned by Sandra Sakurai, of 390 E. Congress Parkway in Crystal Lake, Ill. The address leads to a medical complex northwest of Chicago.
PFC & Classic Dining Restaurant Group, which is listed on the sign posted on the front door, did not return a phone message Thursday.
Corporate officials also did not return a phone call on Thursday. Denny’s, based in Spartanburg, S.C., operates 1,590 restaurants in the U.S., according to its website.
Hursey, too, said he was sorry to see the restaurant close. He liked the scrambled eggs, hash browns and waffles.
With Denny’s closed, he was headed to the Waffle House in Taylorsville.
He and his friend got back into his vehicle and drove away, leaving the lot, once more, empty.