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Peoples Restaurant and Lounge closes after being in business more than 20 years

Peoples restaurant
Posted at 10:53 PM, May 01, 2023

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Peoples Restaurant and Lounge will be closing its doors this month. The owners announced the news on their social media over the weekend.

The owner, Joe Gonzales, opened Peoples Restaurant in 2002. He initially had a location on South Padre Island Drive before turning it over to its new owners, which transformed the building into a Saltgrass restaurant. In 2005, Gonzales opened the current location on Up River Road and began building his family business.

More than two decades later, Jeanette Gonzales, the owner's daughter, has worked with her parents at Peoples for more than 10 years.

"I had my baby here, my sister had her wedding here, and I even had my reception dinner here. This has always been a part of our family," said Gonzales.

During the pandemic, many small businesses faced uncertainty, Peoples included. Gonzales says the existing challenges from Covid-19, combined with the lack of workers and inflation with products, have caused the owners to second guess operating the business.

"It's been really hard with Covid coming, prices going up, and then the workforce, it's hard to find good employees. Many of them don't even want to work. We kind of talked about it. We even thought about doing a breakfast, and then finally they were like, you know what, 'I think it’s time to sell,'" said Gonzales.

The conversation of closing Peoples restaurant was a shock to Dana Pendarvis, who has worked at the restaurant for more than 17 years.

“It’s sad. I’m happy for them," said Pendarvis, "They’ve worked so hard for so long, and they’ve taught me a lot, showed me a lot, and gave me a lot of love.”

Pendarvis says although the owners are deciding to leave the serving industry, she says she knows it's best for them to finally take time for themselves.

“It’s time for them to go and live their lives and be grandparents," Pendarvis said.

The owner's daughter, Jeanette, says she'll miss the connections she's made over the years.

"Tons of customers come in, and some of them have become family, dear friends. I'm going to miss that the most. You make that kind of connection with people, and it's more than a restaurant. It's kind of like, in a way, we're losing a family member," Pendarvis said.

The owners say the restaurant building will be sold to another restaurant owner in the community. Peoples Restaurant and Lounge officially closes on May 12.

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