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San Francisco's Cliff House Closed Again After Attempt To Defy Shutdown

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- The famed Cliff House restaurant has been forced to shut its doors for the remainder of the federal government shutdown, after it defied orders by reopening earlier this week.

While the restaurant is privately owned, the Cliff House is located within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The area, along with all National Park Service sites, has been ordered closed since the shutdown took effect on October 1st.

The restaurant initially shut its doors Wednesday night. After missing out on customers through a busy weekend in San Francisco, the restaurant's owners decided to reopen despite the shutdown.

"Our owners decided that it was worth a shot to get everyone back in the building," Cliff House manager Bob Covacks told KPIX 5.

On Monday and Tuesday, the kitchen was bustling again and business was booming. The plan seemed to work, until the government caught wind of the Cliff House defying orders.

KPIX 5 asked Kovacks if they thought they were going to fly under the radar. "We were hoping to, but unless we tried, we just didn't know," he said.

The closure of the Cliff House will impact numerous weddings, brunches and sunset dinners. Around 170 employees will also be out of work.

Executive Chef Kevin Weber has worked at the restaurant for 37 years and said this is a first. "We have gone through fires and floods and everything and this has never happened," he said.

Until the government shutdown is over, longtime patrons such as Maynard Werner will have to wait to be seated for another meal.

"It's so devastating. This is a big operation; they've got so many employees and it's a tremendous financial loss to them," he said.

The chef said unused food will be donated to local charities.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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