Maria's Mexican restaurant announced it will be closing at 406 South Ave. in downtown Springfield. But there is an effort underway to try to save the local favorite.
The restaurant's owners, Chris and Monica Guest, announced the closure in a Facebook post on Thursday evening, citing the difficulties of owning a restaurant the last two-plus years.
"Recent events have made owning a restaurant tougher than ever before," the post read. "It wasn’t an easy decision to close Maria’s, but after 25 years, we’re tired. We decided to close Maria's, retire, and move forward with new dreams.
"To this community that we so deeply love, we truly thank you for 25 years filled with beautiful memories."
Maria's is a family-owned and operated Mexican restaurant located downtown that specialized in Mexican traditions from authentic cuisine to artisan tequila. Favorite dishes included fried tacos, fajitas, enchiladas and more.
In the Facebook post, Maria's thanked its customers for their support over the years and said they would like to see people support other local restaurants who might be struggling.
After word got out about the closing of the restaurant, several groups have reached out about loans and other options to help Maria's stay in business, according to Downtown Springfield Association executive director Rusty Worley.
"We get closely invested with downtown business owners, especially the ones that have been around for a long time," Worley said. "So when I heard that I reached out to see what we could do to support them."
Worley told The News-Leader that Chris and Monica Guest are still considering their decision and would like to think about it over the weekend. Chris Guest was not immediately available for an interview on Friday morning.
The popular Springfield restaurant started in 1997 as a small place on Walnut Street that mostly served its famous fried tacos and burritos to go. The Guests started the restaurant with Monica's parents. And in 2001, they moved to the current spot on South Avenue.
As the building expanded, the menu did as well and Maria's became a full-service restaurant. Many of the menu items are named after members of the family.
Maria's is one of several local restaurants to announce they are closing this year after battling through complications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Neighbor's Mill Bakery and Cafe recently announced it would be closing one of its locations as did Bair's Sports Grill. In downtown Springfield, Lost Signal Brewing Company also closed earlier this year.
This article originally appeared on Springfield News-Leader: Maria's Mexican restaurant in downtown Springfield says it's closing