Culture Restaurants The Katchup

6 Emotions That Come From Closing Down A Restaurant

Photo: Peter Pham

When we discovered a favorite restaurant of ours has closed down, the only major emotion we feel is disappointment that we’ll never be able to experience that food again. The shock hits us, it bums us out, but we soldier on. We’ve always wondered, however, what that spectrum of emotion could be on the other side of the coin, for restauranteurs who have had to make the heartbreaking decision to close down their stores.

So we asked.

Nathanial Nguyen was the owner of two highly-popular restaurants concepts located in Southern California: Jinny’s Pizzeria and Rooster Republic.

You may best know Jinny’s as the spot that crafted two viral creations: a spaghetti pizza and an eggs benedict pizza.

Rooster Republic was a Nashville Hot Chicken concept that came to Los Angeles’ open-air food market Smorgasburg before branching off to a brick-and-mortar location in Downtown Santa Ana, CA.

Photo: Peter Pham

Both restaurants inspired phenomenal dishes, and both broke customers’ hearts when they closed down.

So how could two such popular, viral, and tightly run concepts come to an end?

Nguyen stopped by the Foodbeast Katchup podcast and shared his experiences as a restaurant owner who had come to the difficult decision of closing down his restaurants.

If you haven’t already checked it out, Nguyen’s episode is arguably one of the most emotional yet.

We spoke to him after and Nguyen broke down the six feelings one goes through when shuttering the doors of a restaurant forever.


“We had a sense of accomplishment,” said Nguyen. “We were all really proud.”

Photo courtesy of Frances Tang

“We weren’t going out because we were a bad business,” he explained. “We had a lot of recognition, awards, rankings, and ratings. It felt really good to come out on top and while we were there we had a big impact and made our mark on the industry.”


“I definitely felt guilty because it was a decision that affects not just us, but our team and our employees,” Nguyen shared. “It’s really hard to explain to someone what goes into the decision-making process of deciding to close a business.”

Nguyen felt a great sense of guilt because there were people who really bought into everything the restaurant wanted to do and achieve, and believed in his vision just as much as he did. They worked so hard to accomplish all of the things that make it possible so that he can think about a future for the concept and the business.

“I felt a lot of guilt about taking that away from them,” he shared. “Taking away all the dreams that we created together as a team.”


“It was really hard to let my team go,” he told us. “I knew it was the best decision for us, but at the same time I felt like we shouldn’t have to close down.”

“For me, so much of my heart went into the business,” he shared. “It was really hard to close the restaurants. There was a lot of tears, everyone cried and hugged each other. We felt a lot of sadness.”


“It was hard to tell everyone why we closed,” Nguyen said.

He told us, “When people hear that we closed the businesses, people can only think one of two ways and how difficult it was to communicate to everybody, what led us to that decisions.”

Photo: Peter Pham

“I think that’s why I wanted to do the podcast, I wanted to be able to tell the story and the experience as to why we did it,” he explained. “Ultimately, it was a very personal experience for me. The business aspect guided the decision. But ultimately it was a personal choice for me and I felt very embarrassed because everyone associated me with those restaurants as the head chef and owner. It was hard to create that new identity for myself.”


“Ultimately, I felt relief,” he admitted. “When everything finally closed, I felt like I could finally take a real deep breath again. Feel at ease, relaxed, and not stressed and anxious and nervous. A lot of the emotions that were associated with running the restaurants and owning the businesses weren’t there anymore.”


“I felt a lot happier,” Nguyen concludes. “That’s hard to say because I was very happy running the businesses and doing that work. But I didn’t realize what parts of my happiness had been taken away from me or had been missing when I operated those businesses. To get those back after everything had closed really showed me what parts of happiness I had valued.”

Features Restaurants

Buffet Owner Answers All The Buffet Questions Folks Have Been Dying To Ask

The majority of us have visited a buffet at some point in our lives. As soon we’re seated, we sprint to the smorgasbord and pile our plates with mounds and mounds of food. Sitting there, shoveling food into our mouths, a bevy of buffet questions come to mind.

What’s the best thing to get? Is the seafood really fresh? Why are the desserts so tiny?

In a recent Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session, an owner operator of a large independent all-you-can-eat concept in the United States answered a ton of questions the Internet had been dying to know about the buffet industry.

Some of the questions include topics such as foods to avoid, nightmarish customers, and what happens to leftovers after the doors close for the evening.

Check out some of the highlights from the session below. Perhaps you’ll find your own buffet questions answered.

buffet questions

Man, makes me rethink my entire buffet-eating strategy.


Meet The NY Pizza Shop Owner Who Recruited For ISIS Using Social Media


A pizza shop owner in New York admitted to actively trying to recruit fighters for the Islamic State group in Syria. A naturalized U.S. citizen, Mufid Elfgeeh pleaded guilty last week to two counts of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, ABC News reports.

His admission was under a plea agreement that landed him a reduced sentence of 22.5 years in prison.

The 31-year-old owner of the now-closed Mojoe’s Pizza in Rochester helped put one recruit in contact with an English-speaking Islamic Sate contact in Iraq by using a Facebook account. Actually, it was 23 Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter accounts to be exact.

According to court documents, Elfgeeh used those accounts to ask for donations and state his support for violent jihad and allegiance to the Islamic State and its leaders.

Elfgeeh was arrested in May 2014 for buying two handguns and silencers and planning to kill returning US soldiers with them. Elfgeeh was identified as one of the first Islamic State recruiters arrested in the US.

While in court, Elfgeeh admitted to actively trying to recruit fighters for ISIL. According to authorities, he purchased a laptop and camera for two recruits back in 2014 for a trip to Syria and paid for them to get a birth certificate and passport. He also sent money to a third person in Yemen to pay for their trip to Syria. However, two of those recruits were FBI informants.

Elfgeeh will be facing sentencing in March. His former spot was also known for their chicken and doubled as a grocery store.

Photo: Mojoe’s


Hero Restaurant Owner Yells At Screaming Toddler After Parents Do Nothing

Last Saturday, an unpleasant scene erupted at Marcy’s Diner in downtown Portland when the owner of the restaurant scolded a 2-year-old child for screaming.

That Saturday morning started off busy for Darla Neugebaueron, the diner’s owner, as she was faced with a full restaurant. She said that neither her restaurant or grill are very big, which made it difficult to get even the easiest orders out quickly.

While Neugebaueron is used to busy Saturdays, she was not used to non-stop screaming. After 40 minutes of crying from a young child at table five, Neugebaueron lost her patience.

Neugebaueron recounted to ABC affiliate WMTW:

“I turned around, slammed both hands on the counter, and then pointed at the child and said, ‘This has got to stop.’ Oh, and then the mother screamed at me because I was yelling at her child. You know what lady, you should have taken the kid outside.”

Tara Carson, the mother of the child, reportedly said:

“Did you just yell at a child?”

Neugebaueron replied:

“Yup! Sure did! Shut her up too! Why is it OK for that kid to disrupt the experience for 75 people when mommy and daddy could have taken it outside?”



According to Neugebaueron’s Facebook page, she had previously asked the parents to either take the child outside or to leave, but they refused to listen. She said that even after the child’s pancakes were brought to the table, the parents continued to talk and eat in spite of their screaming daughter, who couldn’t reach her food.

Neugebaueron said that she was justified in her actions because after she screamed at the child, the crying stopped.

Tara Carson was naturally appalled by the incident and posted some words on Darcy’s Diner’s Facebook page. Neugebaueron responded with some words of her own, which has now sparked a national debate.

Carson is in disbelief over the insanity of Neugebaueron looking for support from other mothers, saying:

“Anyone with a toddler knows when you wait for more than 40 minutes for food your child runs out of patience so crying is normal.”

Neugebaueron said she refuses to host screaming babies and absent-minded parents in her restaurant. She said:

“We all have our opinions. I think maybe mom and dad should have taken the kid out and nipped it right in the bud. I’m not a parent. I don’t know 100 percent. I know after 40 minutes of screaming, I had had enough.

“I may have crossed the line. It’s my line to cross though.”

On Monday, a reporter from WCSH-TV caught up with Neugebaueron and asked her if she was sorry for the way she acted. Neugebauer said:

“Life is full of choices and you’ve got to live with all of them. I don’t know if sorry would be the proper word. I might have used poor judgment.”

Written by Riley Schatzle of NextShark