Erik Oeverndiek/Daily Journal
Vic's restaurant in San Carlos served its last meal yesterday afternoon.
Vic’s Restaurant, a staple of San Carlos for 33 years, served its last meal, leaving loyal patrons in search of a new place for their favorite breakfasts and surprised employees who are now looking for new jobs.
Owner Iman Azad could not be reached but told his workers Monday that it would be their last shifts at the eatery located at 1125 San Carlos Ave. Once the lunch hour ended, a sign was hung on the door thanking customers for their patronage and saying it was closed "until further notice.”
The news stunned employees like Vicente Ramos, an 11-year veteran who said he works as a busboy, a server, a cook, "everything.” Ramos, 39, said he doesn’t know how he’s going to support his wife and three kids.
"It’s not easy to find a job right now,” Ramos said.
The announcement also shocked customers who wonder where they can now get their bacon Swiss omelets and extra crispy hash browns.
"It’s just horrible and very sad. I don’t know if it’s a sign of the times but it is always busy in there,” said George, who declined to give his last name.
Since moving to San Carlos, George found himself eating breakfast at Vic’s "religiously” once or twice a week and on the weekend.
"It is a great institution,” he said.
Institution is exactly the word used by those like George who’ve been coming to Vic’s since its 1976 opening in the heart of downtown San Carlos. Reviews posted online rave about favorite eggs Benedicts and carafes of hot coffee on the tables, the Belgian waffles and the Cobb salad. Even the orange marmalade gets the occasional nod.
Some sites, however, knock the restaurant in recent reviews and old-timers question a recent remodel of its counter.
Naysayers aside, for customers like George, the shuttering means goodbye to his breakfast rituals and to servers, like Vicente, who he said are as good as the food.
Although Azad is the current owner, the restaurant is named for Vic Balushian who opened it with his brother, Russ.
"They built it from nothing,” said Sheryl Pomerenk, CEO of the Chamber of Commerce.
Upon hearing of the closure, Pomerenk’s first call was to its namesake, but he is away until Tuesday.
"I hadn’t heard a thing,” she said. "I wanted to know if it was true.”
The restaurant’s closing is a big change and a big loss, Pomerenk said.
She remembered taking her kids to eat at the restaurant and was just in Friday for lunch. The Chamber of Commerce, the Kiwanis and other city organizations might have a different challenge than where to eat now — they must also find a new spot to have board meetings and group gatherings.
"Vic’s was one of the few places with separate meeting space,” Pomerenk said.
Pomerenk said it is hard to say if the closure will have a negative ripple effect on neighboring business but theorized it might help the competition.
"It might even be a positive,” she said. "Vic’s was a big breakfast place.”
Michelle Durand can be reached by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 102.