Following recent news of the upcoming closure of Emily’s Kitchen in Santa Rosa, owner Emily Nagan said on Friday that one of her longtime employees, Pina Zarate, is planning to take over the popular breakfast and lunch spot in Montgomery Village.
Although details are still in the works, Nagan said the restaurant will remain open as she teaches Zarate the ropes of restaurant ownership — as well as her hash recipe.
“I was hoping Sunday would be my last day, but not anymore,” said Nagan, whose decision to close the restaurant came out of a desire to slow down after years of hard work. “Everyone’s really happy Emily’s Kitchen isn’t going away,” she added.
Earlier in the week, Nagan underlined that her decision to close the restaurant was not a result of the coronavirus pandemic hurting business but rather because she needed to take care of herself.
“It’s been a super successful business, but I need to give my body a break. I’m working ten to twelve hours a day, seven days a week. I just need to step back and give my body a break,” she said.
Nagan, who has nine employees, told shopping center owners she planned to retire last February and was waiting for someone to take over the lease with a similar concept.
“Coronavirus didn’t make me quit, it just helped make my closing date a little sooner,” she said.
Nagan added that social distancing has squelched some of the fun she had as a restaurant owner.
“I like to hug people and I like people to gather. With all the regulations, that’s just not my kind of restaurant,” she said.
Once retired, Nagan hopes to work on a cookbook and maybe do some quilting and stained glass window making. She’s also considering a cottage business for her popular desserts.