After almost 13 years owning and operating Cajun Catfish House, John and Joan Moore have decided to close up shop.
The Moores let their customers know in a Sept. 3 Facebook post they would be closing their doors Saturday. But Friday afternoon, they weren't sure they'd make it that long — they were running out of food.
A lack of business isn't the reason they're closing. Simply put, the Moores are ready for a break after so many years of running the restaurant.
"We really loved the business and everything, but it's just getting too much. A lot of the sacrifices that we've made, we started questioning — because we've always put the business first," John said. "This place will consume you."
In their last week, the Moores and their employees were busy, with waits for food reaching 30-40 minutes and an order window full of tickets.
The Facebook post announcing the closure had more than 200 comments within days from people, many regulars at the restaurant, who expressed their sadness at the news. The Moores said they bet at least half of their customers were regulars.
Joan, who ran the restaurant full time, said the customers will be what she misses most.
"I've made so many friends, close friends, and it was really hard saying goodbye to all of them. Really hard," Joan said.
The Moores know people may think they're crazy to close while business is still good, but that's what they wanted.
"It was a very hard decision because a lot of people think we're nuts, as good as it was doing," Joan said. "But you gotta do what you gotta do."
They've been considering it for about a year. A few months back, they switched to only dinner, but it's just still too much for the couple. John still works full time for Jefferson City, and they were tired from working so much.
John said they would consider selling the business if someone was interested and they seemed a good fit. The restaurant will remain, as is, for at least a month.
They said they wouldn't have made it as long as they did without the support of dedicated customers; their sons, Jordan and Jared, and daughter-in-law, Amber, as well as their strong partnership.
On Friday afternoon, a few hours before their last dinner service, the Moores were feeling bittersweet.
"I'm sure, when we lock the door, the reality will set in, and it's going to be sad," John said.
Despite the sacrifices and long nights, they have no regrets.
"If we had the chance to do it again, we probably would," John said.
For now, the couple will enjoy having some time off, spending time with friends and their dogs.
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