A fixture of road trips in eastern Newfoundland is closing its doors after more than three decades, citing a lack of staff and the rising cost of goods.
Monty's Place, located on the Trans-Canada Highway in Whitbourne, recently shut down its restaurant after 31 years of operation. The business's gas bar and convenience store will remain open.
Owner Monty Petipas said closing down the restaurant was a tough decision.
"It's a big part of my day when I get up in the morning. But at the end of the day I can't operate it by myself," said Petipas on Monday.
The restaurant, with a menu ranging from fish and chips to liver and onions and Chinese food, temporarily closed earlier this year amid a spike in COVID-19 cases. But with things getting back to normal for the upcoming summer season, Petipas said he couldn't find the staff to keep the restaurant open.
"It took me a few months of tossing it around. We've been advertising for new kitchen staff, and right now we need five cooks for the summer and we've got two. I can't open if I don't have the staff," he said.
There are other factors that played a role, he said, such as the rising cost of food. With rising inflation, he said, he would have had to raise prices on his menu by at least 25 per cent.
Gas prices also factor in, thanks to his location on the highway with loyal customers spread out across the region.
"We've had regulars from, say, Clarenville to St. John's and in between, that every Sunday would come for a Sunday drive just to come here for a meal," he said "I'm looking at who is actually going to go for a Sunday drive the way gas prices the way they are?"
He says he's thankful for an outpouring of support that followed the announcement.
"I was amazed at all the nice comments we had. So that was nice and rewarding."