Two restaurants in the Brookings Harbor area — Cafe Kitanishi in Brookings and Sebastian’s Seafood Grill in Harbor — have announced they are closing after years in business.
Kitanishi’s owner Beth Wong and her husband Patrick opened the sushi restaurant on Hemlock Street 15 years ago. They are closing Dec. 30 “for health and other reasons,” Beth said, adding that they are not moving from town.
“We just don’t know what to do yet,” she said, laughing. “I’m not done yet. There’s other things I want to do.”
The Wongs opened the cafe because they wanted to eat sushi without having to drive three hours to the nearest Asian restaurant.
“Since we started our journey with Sushi Friday, it grew from from an Internet cafe and espresso bar to a full-fledged fine dining restaurant,” Beth said of the beginnings. “It has been a rewarding experience for us and our great pleasure in serving all of our dear customers. It has been a very difficult decision for us to make.”
The lease is up at Sebastians, and owners Debbie and Ron Epperson plan to close the restaurant Jan. 30 and concentrate their efforts on Driftwood RV Park in Harbor, which they purchased in September.
The Eppersons opened Sebastian’s eight years ago.
“We’re trying to semi-retire,” Debbie Epperson said, laughing loudly. “Eight years. It’s just time for us. If we were younger, we could try to do both.”
The building has been available since July, Epperson said, and there is currently no one signed up on a lease. Whales Tail Candy and Gifts, the gift store next door, will remain.
“I’m sure they’ll find somebody,” she said. “It’s a big restaurant. We have a lot of employees; 40 employees.”
Some of those are moving. Others will concentrate on their other jobs, retire or take a vacation until the restaurant reopens, she said.
Debbie Epperson said the restaurant will be remodeled alongside remodels this winter. Hotel officials — the Best Western Beachfront Inn was purchased earlier this year by Pacifica Hotels, a boutique hotel management firm — plan to remodel its rooms and convert its conference space into a workout area for those staying at the hotel.
The loss of the conference room leaves the community with only two other venues at which to host conferences and provide lodging: Lucky 7 Casino in Smith River, about 10 miles south of Brookings, and the Brookings Inn and Resort, in town.
The port, too, is now looking for a place to hold its monthly meetings, which often filled the conference room at the Best Western hotel.
“We’ve all known for a long time,” Epperson said of her thoughts on closing. “Everyone’s praying someone will lease it before we leave. It’s sad.”
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