RICHMOND, Va. -- It's the end of an era for a family favorite Richmond restaurant in The Fan.
The Robin Inn officially closed late Wednesday night.
On Thursday afternoon, hungry customers hoping to grab a meal found the building with its lights off and the door locked.
"It’s a real disappointment," said John Heissler, who's been a patron for about a decade.
He said he was hoping to have lunch there one last time after hearing the news the Robin Inn would close later this month.
Lorie Edwards was also met with disappointment.
As a former Robin Inn waitress, she hoped to eat there for the first time in nearly 30 years after moving back to Richmond.
"My sister-in-law and I said, 'Hey let’s go to Robin Inn!' and now, I’m very disappointed. I almost want to bang on the door and ask if I can walk in, but I won’t," Edwards said.
The Loupassi family started the Robin Inn in 1964.
Current owner Niki Loupassi remembers working at her family's restaurant which soon came under her leadership.
Over the years, she's grown close with her clientele.
“I have some patrons who come in twice a day, lunch, dinner, and some come in three or four times a week in my restaurant. I have tables ready for them when they walk in," Loupassi said.
The booths that were once packed with customers now sit empty. The famous neon lights adorning the windows are off.
Loupassi said she's decided to leave the restaurant industry, closing the restaurant before its original close date of June 18, due to a maintenance issue.
“I made it through the pandemic. All my bills are paid. I’m tired and I’m ready to retire," she said. "I’m ready to do something not restaurant-related. I’m ready to do something else.”
Despite the ending of this chapter, she's optimistic that the legacy of her family's restaurant will live on and is hoping to pass the torch to a new restaurant owner.
“Cross your fingers, there might be another Robin Inn. A continuation. I’m hoping it’ll be a smooth transition," Loupassi said.
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