An Aiken downtown eatery closed its doors for good this weekend.
Cafe Rio Blanco, located at 148 Laurens St. S.W., announced via its Facebook page that Saturday was its last day of business. The owners, Orlando and Debbie Pinero, thanked their customers for their support and said that it was time to move on “to new things.”
Pinero said that many factors were in play in making the tough decision to close the restaurant such as the economy and “quality of life.”
“It’s very sad, and I told my wife (Debbie) yesterday that I feel that I’m in mourning,” Pinero said. “It’s been six years. It’s been great, but the numbers are not positive.”
Customers expressed their sadness of the news through an outpouring of comments on Facebook. One customer wrote that the restaurant was where she had her first date with her husband who she just married two weeks ago. Many comments from patrons were focused on already missing the Cuban cuisine.
The Cuban-style restaurant, which served lunch and dinner, opened in the fall of 2008 by Pinero and his wife. The menu consisted of roast pork and chicken dishes, soups, Cuban sandwiches and many other authentic dishes.
The restaurant also hosted a variety of small community events such as poetry readings and chess tournaments.