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Crab and Steak House closes without notice; Patrons and staff find doors locked

By Staff | Aug 26, 2008

Patrons and employees alike arrived at the Cape Crab and Steak House on Monday to find the doors of the eatery locked and the shades drawn. In the window next to the front door of the longtime Cape favorite hung a dry erase board that simply said CLOSED.

Regulars headed for happy hour were confused, some tugging on the door despite the dry erase board’s message.

Duane Richmond had to jump on his cell phone quickly to change his plans. He has been coming to the Cape Crab and Steak House for the last eight years.

“Don’t come to the crab and steak house, it’s closed,” he told the person on the other end of the phone. “Yeah, closed.”

Employees of the restaurant did not fare any better, instead finding a simple sign taped to the backdoor at the rear of the restaurant that said their final checks would be mailed.

Next door at Mangia Bene, server David Puttman said Cape Crab and Steak House employees had been arriving at work for the lunch rush like it was a perfectly normal day.

“I was standing outside smoking a cigarette, and the employees kept coming over asking me what was going on,” Puttman said. “None of the employees knew anything.”

Puttman also said the restaurant was busy Sunday night, and that he had a bit of small talk with the Cape Crab and Steak House’s owner, Martin Yesh. He added that Yesh gave no indication of the pending closure, but then again, Puttman did not expect it would be something Yesh would share.

“It was just small talk,” he said.

Established in 1984, the Cape Crab and Steak House has had only two different owners in its more than 25-year history.

It has been a favorite haunt for people like Judy and Michael Jenkins, who have been eating there for the last 24 years. They were “stunned” to find the restaurant closed Monday.

“We’ve been patrons of the crab house since the original crab house,” Judy said. “He (Michael) went there after work almost every day. We’ve been patrons since the very beginning.”

Jenkins went on to say she thought the number of dinner customers had declined over the last few years at the eatery, but overall business at the restaurant did not appear to be down.

Now, Judy and her husband are going to be on the lookout for a new place where they can be called regulars. She thinks it might turn out to be Applebee’s.

“He considered the crab house to be a neighborhood hangout, we’ve known people there for years and years,” she said. “It’s a shame local restaurants aren’t able to make it. The economy is really tough.”

Cape Crab and Steak House owner Martin Yesh could not reached for comment Monday.