CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- Linda's Bar and Grill is closing its doors for good on Jan. 5 after nearly 50 years in business on Franklin Street.
"Breaks my heart," owner Christopher Carini said.
Despite making a profit in 2023, the restaurant took on a lot of debt during the COVID-19 crisis, combined with people not going out as much anymore, according to Carini.
"I've taken on so much debt to try and get to where things would be good again," Carini said. "I love this place. I poured every single ounce of me I have into this place for 13 years. Everything, every dime."
Carini said he even sold his truck as part of his efforts to keep up with the infrastructure costs and pay his employees, including starting a GoFundMe in September that raised more than $35,000.
"If it wasn't for the unbelievable burden of the debt that we got and covered, this place would operate fine," Carini said.
The restaurant enters its final days with heartfelt goodbyes from patrons like Nile Latowsky.
"It feels like a piece of home is being lost," Latowsky said. "Losing this place...it'll be hard for a long time."
Although Carini wants the Chapel Hill staple to remain, Carini is trying to stay positive by going out with a bang on Friday.
"If you love your favorite places, go to them or they won't be there much longer," Carini said. "One extra day a month ... with a couple of hundred people, do that. That makes all the difference. But for some of us, it's too late."