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After 38 years, Duluth diner closes for good due to COVID-19

Mike's Western Cafe announced the closure with "heavy hearts."

A cafe in Duluth's Lincoln Park neighborhood is closing for good due to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent state-ordered capacity restrictions.

Mike's Western Cafe, a family-run diner at 2803 W. Superior St., is closing after 38 years in business, owners Mike and Deb Prachar announced with "heavy hearts" in a Facebook post on Wednesday

"Thank you so much for your support over the years. We have met so many people, made lots of great friendships and made many lasting memories. We appreciate all of you more than you know. Thank you for everything," the post said. 

Mike Pracher, who was 23-years-old when he bought the cafe, told Fox 21 they've been hit hard by the pandemic and dine-in capacity restrictions, saying, "It's already been six months and I just can't wait it out."

Mike's Western Cafe closed in mid-March when the state ordered them to, and didn't reopen over the summer when restaurants were allowed to offer dine-in service due to how small the restaurant is, the cafe said on Facebook in June.

“I’m just too small — 12 booths, or six at 50% capacity, and nowhere to put outdoor seating,” Mike Prachar told the Star Tribune. “I was waiting for something to change and it just wasn’t changing.”

The cafe is the latest restaurant in Minnesota to close for good amid the COVID-19 pandemic (see a running list of the others here), but the Star Tribune notes fewer Duluth restaurants have closed for good compared to the Twin Cities and other metro areas thanks to a boost in tourists to the North Shore over the summer. 

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That being said, more restaurant closures could be looming. Although the state eased some COVID-19 restaurant restrictions on Thursday by allowing larger parties to dine together (capacity is still restricted to 50%), KSTP reports a survey shows 52% of restaurants and foodservice businesses in Minnesota will close permanently if restrictions don't change in the next four to six months. 

And if nothing changes in six to 12 months, 70% of restaurants will close for good, KSTP notes, citing a survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and Hospitality Minnesota states. 

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