Created: May 18, 2020 06:19 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The owner of a popular Downtown Albuquerque restaurant announced last week that he would close his doors for good.
"It was very difficult decision. Let me start with that,” said Last Call owner Luis Valdovinos.
Valdovinos said Last Call—the restaurant he brought to New Mexico from California—had plans for growth.
"It hurts my heart, to have to see those jobs—I mean, at one point I was employing over 30 people here in the community and I'd take so much pride in that,” he said.
Last Call’s first location in Nob Hill closed last year and now the Valdovinos said he’s closing his downtown location because of the high cost of rent and the uncertainty of when his clientele will return.
"Downtown, 80 to 90 percent of our business was based on the nightlife,” he said.
With bars closed, events canceled and restaurants forced to do take out only, Valdovinos said the Downtown neighborhood is dead quiet and that the location is no longer worth holding on to.
"As small business owners, local business owners, community business owners and leaders all have expressed to me on a recurring theme that they don't feel that their voices are being hard,” he said.
He said city loans and deferments on rent were not enough and that individual businesses are ready to regulate themselves.
"I don't know. I'm just going to say it—when we're being spoken to like children, right, we've always been responsible enough to manage our businesses,” Valdovinos said.
"I don't feel that the Governor, at this point, by her actions is showing us that she's actually listening to small business community at this point,” he added.
Valdovinos said he still has two locations open and he’s not ruling out a return to Downtown, but said the current restrictions will make it very difficult to survive.
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