FORT WORTH (CBS 11 NEWS) – A popular downtown Fort Worth restaurant unexpectedly shut its doors this week. Customers stopping in for dinner, were greeted by a note on the door that read “Vivo 53 has closed indefinitely.”
Ryland Johnson is a bartender at the nearby Cantina Laredo. He said, “Monday, they abruptly closed and no one knows why.”
The dining spot is a favorite of Fort Worth foodies. In 2015, it was named the “best pizza” in the area by thrillist.com.
“Every time I walked by it looked busy… seemed like everything was going good,” said Johnson.
The restaurant’s sudden exit left customers feeling shocked. But perhaps no one was more stunned than its employees.
“They called a group meeting. They said ‘Stop what you’re doing. Get your stuff and fill out applications in other places. We’re closing,'” explained Molli Morrison, who worked a sous-chef at the restaurant.
Morrison says she was in the middle of her shift, when she learned from property management that she was out of a job. And employees say others only learned about the restaurant closing when they showed up and saw the note on the door.
A spokesperson for the restaurant told CBS 11 News, that in all 21 employees were impacted.
“We have made the difficult business decision to suspend operations and announce the closure of the Vivo 53 in Fort Worth,” said Jenni Lauri, via email. She cited “operational and financial factors” for the decision.
In that statement, Lauri explained “we have successfully reached every employee through email or phone,” adding “our staff’s work and dedication is appreciated and we thank them for their many contributions.”
Those in the restaurant industry say it is a volatile business, but a little warning goes a long way. “You hope you have enough respect for your employees to give them fair notice,” said Johnson.
As for Morrison, she says she’s started her new job search and is looking forward to new opportunities. “The Fort Worth community has come together. There have been quite a few people that have personally reached out to me and offered me a job in places.”
“I really admire that about Fort Worth. They really do take care of each other.”
Among those in the restaurant community reaching out to impacted employees, is Cane Rosso’s owner, Jay Jerrier. Via Facebook, he invited employees to apply for positions at his various restaurant locations in Texas.
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