It's a sad day for fans of Flavortown.
Tex Wasabi, Guy Fieri's second restaurant venture which he opened with former business partner Steve Gruber, has officially shut its doors after nearly 20 years in business. Based in the celebrity chef's hometown of Santa Rosa, California, the restaurant gained both adoration and notoriety for its very Fieri-like menu featuring "Rock n' Roll Sushi Barbecue."
It was, until recently, a mecca for fishbowl cocktails, burgers topped with mac and cheese and other specialities like "Gringo Sushi," which included fillings like smoked meats and fries.
In April 2016, Gruber purchased all of Fieri's shares in Tex Wasabi and the partners' first venture, an Italian-American chain called Johnny Garlic's, after the Mayor of Flavortown tried to shut down the growing restaurant empire, SF Gate reported. Despite Gruber's promise to make some big revisions — like changing Johnny Garlic's drink menu from "Kraft Kocktails" to craft cocktails (we meant big changes) — it also shuttered in 2018.
According to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Tex Wasabi closed "abruptly" on Monday. A sign on the "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" star's original stomping grounds read, "After nearly 20 years, we are sorry to announce that Tex Wasabis had closed its doors. Thank you to all for your support and patronage over the years."
The restaurant's website contains little information as to why it closed. On Wednesday, only a notice thanking the Tex Wasabi staff and guests for their patronage over the years appeared online.
"An 18-year run is phenomenal in the restaurant business," Gruber said in a statement, attributing the closure to the "the cost of doing business."
For anyone looking to get into the market of slinging Tex Mex-Japanese fusion cuisine, the restaurant location and trademark are both up for sale. Steve Zimmerman, the realtor handling the property sale, was not immediately available for comment.
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The restaurant may not be shuttered for good, either. "There is a group of employees trying to pool funds together to reopen," Gruber told the Press Democrat.
Of course, there's still plenty of Donkey Sauce to go around. Fieri has been spreading his wings into the chicken business with his growing chain of restaurants called Chicken Guy! (yes, the exclamation is part of the title), which sells fried chicken meals accompanied by 22 sauce options. After opening two locations in the past year, Fieri plans to continue expanding the chain nationwide.