COSTA MESA — After 45 years on the Eastside, Marie Callender's will shut its doors at 10 p.m. Sunday.
The decision to shutter the restaurant at 353 E. 17th St. was based on an analysis of low-performing locations that were drawing in less money than other restaurants in the chain, said Vivian Brooks, spokeswoman for Memphis, Tenn.-based Marie Callender's.
The chain is reorganizing in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
"Closing a restaurant is always an extremely difficult decision," she said in an email. "We are very grateful to our guests who have patronized the Costa Mesa location since 1966 and to the employees that have worked at this location. We welcome the opportunity to serve our guests at the Costa Mesa restaurant through July 24, and then at any other of our Marie Callender's locations from there on in."
There are Marie Callender's in Irvine, Fountain Valley and other Orange County cities.
On a quiet Wednesday afternoon, a few regulars in Costa Mesa said they would try to visit the small brick diner near Westport Square again before the final slice of pie is served.
Customer Sandy Basmaciyan of Corona del Mar said Marie Callender's was one of a few places in the Newport-Mesa area where senior citizens and families could buy wholesome and economical food.
A small "Now Hiring!" sign on the outside of the restaurant calls attention to "delicious opportunities," although no new employees will be hired for the Costa Mesa location.
The 25 part- and full-time employees working at the East 17th Street location are encouraged to apply to other Marie Callender's locations, Brooks said.
Staffers at the Costa Mesa restaurant said they had been told not to speak to reporters about the imminent closure.