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Staffing shortage, pandemic costs lead to Lake Effect Diner closure

Lake Effect Diner
Posted at 5:31 PM, Aug 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-17 17:31:52-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The doors at both the Lake Effect Diner and The Steer Restaurant are now locked. Both restaurants, as of August 17th, are closed for good, something that was confirmed by owner Tucker Curtin.

"I'm pretty tired after 28 years, 18 at the diner," Curtin said.

Curtin has announced that he is closing both the diner and the restaurant effective immediately. He says that a lack of available staff, pandemic issues, and the struggle to get fresh product are among the reasons for the closure.

"We tried to figure out a way to solve the problem and obviously that's always an option for you," Curtin said, "But the last six months have been pretty tough."

Curtin says he tried to make things work, but when he would cut the days and hours the restaurants were opened, that's when inventory became an issue.

"You start shutting these places down a few days a week and it's tough to keep your inventory right," Curtin said, "If it's not one thing it's another or all items."

The closure of the two restaurants comes just weeks before thousands will return to the University at Buffalo. Councilmember Rasheed N.C. Wyatt, who represents the University District, said these closures show a bigger problem.

"To have this close, it really is disconcerting right now," Councilmember Wyatt said.

Wyatt is hoping this is not the beginning of a larger closing trend in the area.

"This really is a staple in our neighborhood and I don't know where were gonna be going."

So what's next for the Lake Effect Diner and The Steer Restaurant? Well, owner Tucker Curtin said he's already had discussions with interested parties looking to take over the sites. It's unknown if that will be for newer restaurants or other businesses, but Curtin said nothing is imminent.