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Construction, COVID-19 blamed for popular Rochester restaurant closure

ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -- The COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home order have hit the restaurant industry hard and now a popular Rochester restaurant will close its doors Friday night.

300 First is know for its steaks, fish and smoking martinis. Three blocks from the Mayo Clinic, it's a popular dinner stop for visitors and residents alike. Even with patio seating and curbside pick up, the restaurant announced on Facebook that it just can't overcome the circumstances of the last few months.

Creative Cuisine owns 300 First and The Redwood Room which is below it. In addition to the strain of being shut down for months, the owners said downtown construction has also hurt their businesses.

"It's a lack of business. There is a lot of construction down here. With that and COVID, its made business really tough," Kathleen Schau of Creative Cuisine said.

Schau added that the City of Rochester has also placed a large cement barrier on 1st Street, right in front of City Market and Hefe Rojo, which is also owned by Creative Cuisine. She said the barrier has nearly eliminated their curbside pickup business. She added that people tend to avoid that area now because of all of the construction and barriers. She said business is even worse now than it was weeks ago.

Creative Cuisine has reached out to the the city to ask them why the barrier is there. They said the city has not given them an answer.

The last night for dine in or takeout at 300 First is Friday night from 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. The Redwood Room will remain open but the owners said business isn’t good there either. Schau said if there is another shut down because of the pandemic, they won't be able to recover.

Megan Zemple

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