Crossroads restaurant owners post message explaining closing to customers


Patricia Talorico

The owners of Crossroads restaurant, who have run the popular Milltown-area comfort foods eatery for more than 20 years, have posted a goodbye message to loyal customers and explained their reason for closing.

The well-known eatery, owned by Lee Doyle and family members at the corner of Kirkwood Highway and Limestone Road, has permanently shut down. 

"It has been very emotional for our family to make a decision on the future of Crossroads, but unfortunately social distancing requirements have made it impossible for us to continue operations," read a message posted on the Crossroads Restaurant Facebook page Thursday night.

Millcreek Shopping Center LLC, the owner of the property where the building sits, said it is taking over the site on Thursday and will eventually lease it to a new tenant.

The future of Crossroads restaurant, which was a Howard Johnson's for 37 years and adopted its current name in 2001, has been hazy for the past four months.

The restaurant shut down in March after Gov. John Carney ordered eateries statewide to close their dining rooms due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Only takeout and delivery services were allowed until June 1, when restaurants could begin serving customers inside, albeit in limited capacities. Restrictions are still in place.

Crossroads owners last communicated with customers on June 4 with a message on Facebook that seemed to indicate the restaurant would reopen, but it did not.

Delaware Online/The News Journal confirmed on Wednesday the restaurant was listed for sale for $800,000 with Patterson-Woods Commercial Properties. 

But on Wednesday afternoon, Joe Latina, the real estate broker handling the listing, contacted Delaware Online/The News Journal to say Crossroads was "no longer for sale."

He said he could not comment further. It then emerged that a new tenant would be moving in. 

"While originally, we had every intention of reopening our doors, it became obvious as time went on that this was not going to happen," read the Thursday message on the Crossroads Restaurant Facebook page.

"We sincerely apologize for taking so long to communicate. Things were changing so fast with reopening phases and restrictions that it took us until just recently to make a final determination."

Crossroads had a thriving business and was averaging 1,000 diners a day before the coronavirus pandemic, according to Latina.

According to the real estate listing, the restaurant's gross revenue had been $3.2 million and the monthly rent was $14,166.66.

The restaurant industry nationwide has been devastated by COVID-19. It is forecast that the industry will sustain $240 billion in losses by the end of the year, according to the National Restaurant Association. It predicts 4 in 10 restaurants will close. 

The Delaware Restaurant Association predicts 20% to 30% of the state's operators will permanently closed their doors before restaurants are fully allowed to reopen.

Crossroads is one of the most well-known restaurants in the state that has closed because of financial fallout of COVID-19.

Other Delaware food and drink establishments that have closed in recent months include Cheese Chalet in Pike Creek, Nal in Hockessin, Joe's Crab Shack at the Wilmington Riverfront and JB Dawson's at the Christiana Mall.

Crossroads owners thanked customers and employees for supporting them over the years.

"We have so many dedicated customers and a staff who have been like family to us. We can’t thank them enough for all of the support. We will miss all of you very much," read the message

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