Local restaurant-goers now have one less option to explore on Pine Log Road, with Aiken's Fatz Cafe having gone out of business.
The restaurant, as of Monday afternoon, had a large banner in front of its main entrance, proclaiming, "We are closed; thank you for 13 years."
A few feet below, on a door, was a smaller sign announcing, "Now hiring."
A company representative, responding to an information request by email, noted Monday afternoon, "I can confirm that Fatz in Aiken closed today."
Several people who identified themselves as current or former Fatz employees were in the restaurant's parking lot Monday afternoon, expressing disappointment and confusion about what had happened. One indicated that declining sales were a major reason for the situation, but no one was wiling to speak on the record.
Several would-be customers also drove into the parking lot and asked about the situation .
A man who was inside the restaurant Monday afternoon said he could not comment on the situation and suggested seeking more information via the Fatz website.
The restaurant is at 996 Pine Log Road, near Kroger, and across from South State Bank.
Fatz has dozens of locations around the Carolinas, Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia. The nearest locations to Aiken may now be those in Greenwood and Orangeburg. Employees of those restaurants expressed surprise Monday afternoon when told of the Aiken location apparently going out of business.
The chain dates back to 1988 and specializes in "Southern-inspired, chef-designed steaks, seafood, ribs and more," according to the website.