BAKERSFIELD,Calif. — Long-time standing restaurant, Cafe Med, has officially closed its doors on Friday.
Cafe Med has been serving the community of Bakersfield for 28 years according to the owner of the restaurant, Meir Brown.
"My life, the life of my employees, the life of my family is devastated; we need our time to grieve and gather ourselves so we can do something in the future," Brown said.
"I have been offered a lot of help from people to reopen someday, but that day isn’t going to be today."
Cafe Med, located off of Stockdale Highway, has been a place of memories for many people in Bakersfield.
Brown says that despite their initial plan of remaining open until Nov. 27, they are immediately closing due to unforeseen financial complications.
"What I am saying today is accurate, it's not sustainable to continue to open a business on gift cards alone," Brown said. "It has be 40 and 60 balance with cash to pay the employees, and buy product to remain open the next day."
A tearful Brown adds that on Friday lines were out the door. During that time, they redeemed $12,000 in gift cards, which forced them to close earlier than expected.
Brown says they are not able to honor any outstanding gift cards. The same goes for vouchers if they have not been prepaid or pre-ordered.
"I don’t want to beg people, but if people want to help they can call us and we would love to talk to them," Brown said.
Many customers throughout the day were seen offering their support for the restaurant that employs 50 personnel.
"They are a part of Bakersfield history and we appreciate them tremendously, we love Cafe Med and are sad," said Jill Turner, a longtime customer.
Others, when turned away, remained frustrated with the unexpected news. Margi Noblia, a customer of 15 years, says she is disappointed in the communication between the restaurant and customers.
"I don’t think they are treating our community right," said Noblia. "They been in business for 28 years and all of a sudden they are treating their customers terribly."
Noblia says that she has two outstanding gift cards for $100 that she may never get to use and would like a resolution.
"I came down here to see if I get them reimbursed and they said they would validate them, then I could go to Sams Club get my money back," shared Noblia. "I came back to get them validated they said they won’t validate now I can’t get my money back."
23ABC spoke with Sams Club officials, who say if you purchased gift cards with them then they will offer a refund.
Also, you must show that it has not been used through validation.
"Like I said we won’t be able to honor all of them," Brown said.
"I think we are going to deal with the people that sold the vouchers indivdividually and try to find a solution that we can sustain.
We want to apologize."