The kitchen is closed and the dining room is dark at a longtime Gaithersburg eatery.
Star Diner in the Kentlands recently closed its doors for good, which was evident from the sign posted on the front door of the restaurant.
“Sadly we had to close due to poor economic times,” the sign said. “We will miss all of you!”
According to the sign, the diner had been operating at 705 Center Point Way for about 14 years.
Financial struggles had plagued the establishment in the past. The business filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy back in November after high rent costs were hurting profits, co-owner Marty Kobrin said at the time.
Kobrin could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
The November bankruptcy filing showed the restaurant was $262,180 in debt, including $180,360 owed to the landlord, Beatty Management of McLean, Va. Other creditors were mostly food providers and Pepco.
Even before that filing, Kobrin said the business was briefly in Chapter 11 protection in 2002 when his former business partner was running the restaurant’s day-to-day operations.
At the time, Kobrin said he was working out repayment plans with most of his vendors and hoped to return to a strong financial position.
Adam Greenberg, owner of nearby Potomac Pizza, said the sign went up Monday morning, and that it was unfortunate to watch a fellow small business owner go out of business.
“It is sad to see someone who invested a lot of time, money and effort fail, especially coming on to the busiest season,” he said.
Greenberg said he and his staff were in contact with the diner’s kitchen manager to help him find a new job.
“Even though you are in competition, you are in a similar business in the same trenches,” he said.
A representative of Beatty Management could not be reached for comment Tuesday.