SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The restaurant is known to many as a downtown Sacramento staple, but the decade's old, family-owned restaurant Bud's Buffet has officially shut its doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Though, they did not close without a massive show of community support. The state-worker favorite on 10th Street announced on social media Thursday they'd be closing after 33 years in business.
"When someone sent me the news and I saw the subject line – I couldn't even open it," David Pagos, a regular since 1994 said. "I almost cried. That's how important this place is to me."
Pagos and many others couldn't let them go out without support.
"I've been all over the world," Pagos said. "This is one of my favorite places in the world, to be honest with you."
Hundreds of others in the community wanted to share the love, too. Crowds of people lined up for hours throughout the day on Friday. At one point, the line snaked around the block.
It was a familiar sight for Tommy Reber, who told CBS13 he was a former employee. He remembers long lines, years ago, incredibly well.
"It was daily. That's why it's so shocking it's shutting down now," Reber said.
The restaurant has always been a hot spot for state workers, who are now mostly working at home. Bud's Buffet began struggling because of the pandemic and was also hit with vandalism during the riots earlier in the summer. The restaurant owners told customers their debts have continued to climb. But on their last day - a full restaurant meant too much on their plate to speak with our crews, too. Though they shared they're overwhelmed by support.
"I'm hoping this will make them not shut their doors," Reber said as he stood in line for hours to get one last sandwich.
Customers say at Bud's Buffet they've always felt at home. Now that community wants to put their money where their mouth is in the best way possible. An online fundraiser has also thousands of dollars in hopes of helping to pay their bills, so Bud's Buffet can make a post-pandemic return.
Later Friday Bud's Buffet said it will be open for one more day. The restaurant will be open for its official last day Monday. They're limiting each customer to only two sandwiches.
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