The heart of Calgary's notorious'Red Mile' has closed it doors, catching many Calgarians off-guard.
Melrose Grill & Bar on 17th Ave S.W. posted an announcement on their front door Sunday morning, informing patrons they were shutting down service, effective immediately.
“After twenty three years of business Melrose Café & Bar will be closing its 17th Avenue location permanently. The Ownership has decided it is time to close the venue and turn our focus to the Cowboys Casino Location,” it read.
Melrose gained enormous popularity and infamy during the Calgary Flames' 2004 Stanley Cup playoff run. Shenanigans along the busy core street captured international attention and the restaurant was able to successfully brand itself as 'the heart of the Red Mile.'
In recent years, however, revenue had dropped off at the once wildly popular hot spot, one employee told The Calgary Sun on condition of anonymity.
Market manager Tony Johanson told the Calgary Herald the owners felt the time had come to quietly close the restaurant, which has been in business for 23 years.
“It’s an emotional thing for them. 23 years of blood, sweat and tears,” he said.
Johanson clarified to the Calgary Sun there are no financial issues or health infractions influencing the decision, but that "the family just decided it was time to move on."
According to Metro Calgary, the owners only told staff of the closure Sunday morning.
The Herald reports the bar's 40 staff have all been paid, and while some will make the switch to the Cowboys Casino location, some staff will have to look for a new job.
Reaction to the closure was split Sunday, but many took to Twitter to send their best wishes to the 17th Ave. institution.
So upset to find out @MelroseRedMile 17th is no more. A place I called home for 4 years =(— Katie G. (@katie_lynn47) January 12, 2014
Sad to hear @MelroseRedMile is closing. Plenty of good times there! Wishing you continued success at your other location!— Joanne Woo (@Dubyaohoh) January 12, 2014
It is not yet known what will take Melrose's place on 17th Ave.