For the second time in less than three years, a Mexican restaurant at 220 S. Eighth St. has closed.
Jennie Vogt, a manager at Santacruz Mexican Restaurant, said Friday the restaurant closed because of financial reasons.
“Business never really took off,” Vogt said. “We just struggled for a whole year trying to support it, and we can’t do it anymore. We’re very, very sad and disappointed, but it happens. It’s business.”
The Columbia Santacruz opened in early 2004, 17 months after Los Bandidos, another Mexican restaurant in the same location, closed.
Vogt said she was unsure of the future of the building owned by Tony and Maria Gilmore, who live in Florida. “I’m not quite sure if Tony is going to lease it out to somebody else or sell it,” Vogt said.
Unaware the restaurant had shut down, Casey Weise and James McInnis came to eat at Santacruz on Friday evening.
“Right now I’m not happy about it because we’re hungry and we came here to eat,” Weise said. “We think it’s the best Mexican in town. It’s my favorite kind of food.”
McInnis expressed a similar nostalgia for Santacruz.
“It was a good atmosphere and the food was good, the service was pretty good,” McInnis said. “It was reasonably priced. About every weekend we’d come to eat.”
The original Santacruz restaurant in Jefferson City remains open, Vogt said, as it has been for 16 years. Vogt and her husband, Michael, will continue to manage the Jefferson City location.
“Thanks, Columbia, for all the business,” Vogt said. “We’re sorry we couldn’t make it.”