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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

And Then There Was One: Arthur Treacher’s in Garfield Heights Closes

Posted By on Tue, Jun 15, 2021 at 11:24 AM

click to enlarge Arthur Treacher's in Garfield Heights. - DOUGLAS TRATTNER
  • Douglas Trattner
  • Arthur Treacher's in Garfield Heights.

Ben Vittoria, owner of the two remaining standalone Arthur Treacher’s Fish & Chips restaurants, has closed one of them — the Garfield Heights location. That means his Cuyahoga Falls store is the last full-service Arthur Treacher’s in the country. The timing is compelling given the recent spate of media attention, including this writer for this publication.

In some ways, it was precisely that heightened interest that contributed to what Vittoria calls “the perfect storm.”

“I did not close because business was bad,” Vittoria reports. “Whatever Covid couldn't do and whatever corporate mismanagement couldn’t do, the recent labor crunch was able to do. It has become increasingly difficult to operate our restaurants.”

Vittoria, who already is “semi-retired,” has been working alongside his crew over the past weeks and months. On Saturday evening, after another jam-packed weekend staffed with a skeleton crew, a customer complained about the state of the dining room. That proved the final straw for Vittoria, who closed the shop for good within hours.

“We weren’t able to do as good of a job as we wanted to and that was very hurtful to me, so we made the decision to close,” he explains. “If I can’t provide the kind of service I want then it’s time to retreat. It was a very tough decision. You want to do a good job, and have a passion for something, but you also want to do it, if not with perfection, at least with the pride of saying we’re doing a good job.”

Vittoria says that his other store in Cuyahoga Falls suffers the same labor struggles, but it is a newer building with a drive-through which means he can cut back hours in the dining room and focus on that pick-up business.

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