WINCHESTER — Feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Greene Turtle Sports Bar and Grill in Kernstown Commons is closing. The restaurant’s last day is Saturday.

“It’s a very, very, very difficult time for casual dining,” said Lisa Limoges, the restaurant’s owner. “We had to make a very tough decision to close the Greene Turtle. But I hope there’s a future for it at another location sometime in the future.”

The Greene Turtle has locations throughout the East Coast, Limoges said. The location at 185 Kernstown Commons Boulevard opened in early 2016 to serve as a complement to the adjacent Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, owned by Limoges’ brother Steve Nerangis.

Limoges thanked the community for supporting the restaurant and encouraged people to continue to support local businesses.

“Folks should still come out and support places like the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and all the other great local restaurants in our area,” she said. “The impacts of the pandemic have been devastating to the movie and casual dining industry, and it’s critically important that these wonderful places survive for our community. If the community supports movie theaters and casual dining restaurants, then hopefully others won’t have to make the hard decision that I had to make.”

The restaurant has faced many pandemic-related struggles since mid-March, including limited capacity regulations, staffing issues and a shifting business model that she felt wasn’t sustainable for the restaurant, Limoges said.

“To-go sales became a large percentage of our business, and the transfer there and the large fees going out to the delivery providers, while it was a great to keep revenue coming in, it was very costly,” she said.

She commended her “small but mighty” staff for its hard work and efforts throughout the pandemic and said most of their employees had been offered transfers to other jobs at other businesses that she and Nerangis Enterprises own and operate.

The restaurant will be open through Saturday, when it will host a “Last Call” celebration of sorts.

Limoges said the Greene Turtle will offer happy hour specials through Saturday and all “mug club” members are invited to come pick up their mugs and have a final celebration at the “Last Call” event. Members also can pick up their mugs after Saturday by making arrangements through the restaurant’s Facebook page.

— Contact Matt Welch at mwelch@winchesterstar.com

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