After opening to much fanfare two years ago, Bob’s Big Boy at 850 Quintana Road in Morro Bay served its final customer last week.
The building that formerly housed the nostalgic diner is now an empty shell, stripped of much of its restaurant equipment, including the dining room tables and booths. Even Bob himself, the famous cartoon-like statue in front of the building, is gone.
Faced with mounting debt and a dwindling customer base, franchise owner Joshan Balwinder was forced to close the doors to his restaurant Sept. 15.
Court records show the restaurant went into default earlier this year and a number of state tax liens had also been filed against Balwinder.
“No one was surprised to see the moving vans out there,” said Renee Hicks, a former Bob’s Big Boy customer.
Hicks said the restaurant had its problems from its opening. She wanted Bob’s to succeed and gave it several chances to win her over.
“We went about four times,” she said. “There were always about 10 servers working, but no one would help you. Finally, we just stopped going. It felt like it was poorly managed.”
Balwinder could not be reached for comment.
The property was put up for auction with an asking price of $897,754. No buyer came forward, so the building was returned to its original three lenders, who are from outside the area.
The property is currently on the market, with a listing price of $1.3 million.