"People had their first date, came back and got engaged, then they had their wedding," said Mike McGeath. His La Jolla restaurant, Trattoria Acqua, has closed its doors after 17 years. Still the phone won't stop ringing for Valentine's Day.
"We've probably turned away 200 people in the last few weeks," said McGeath.
The economy has taken its toll on the restaurant business. Last year 937 restaurants closed in the city, the higher end white tablecloth restaurants taking the biggest hit, while the casual dining and fast food restaurants doing better.
"People do not have the discretionary income to be able to go out as often as they were before," said Emilio Lemeni with American Bureau of Auction Marketing Exchange. The auctioneer says they have seen a growing number of restaurants closing down. It comes down to the economy, "The people that own the restaurants, they don't have as much income but they still have the same expenses."
"If you are slow you can send people home, you can buy less" said Mike McGeath, "but when you have a fixed rent you have to live with that regardless of how busy you are." So McGeath is getting out of the restaurant business for now.
"I see some time off, much deserved for my wife and I and then we're in the process of looking for a new location somewhere here in San Diego," said McGeath. But this time, there won't be any white tablecloths.