A Castle Rock restaurant that became a lightning rod in the debate over personal freedom during the coronavirus shutdown has closed permanently.
C&C Breakfast and Korean Kitchen lasted just two months — though it remained closed for one of those — after its owners defied public health orders and re-opened their business during the shutdown in an effort to save it.
Jesse and April Arellano late last week told customers via the restaurant’s Facebook page that they wouldn’t renew their restaurant’s lease on Trail Boss Drive after July.
In a long statement, the Arellanos described the divisiveness that followed their decision to open to in-person dining on Mother’s Day, while restaurants were still ordered closed across Colorado.
They also decried what they considered to be personal attacks by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis against their small business.
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“I was asked what I would say to him, I would say ‘For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?’ (Mark 8:36),” Jesse Arellano wrote. “The hypocrisy of the lockdowns was disappointing as big business(es) were not scrutinized like small businesses were … .”
While they have closed their Castle Rock restaurant, the Arellanos continue to run a second C&C Kitchen in Colorado Springs. The decision ultimately came down to stopping “the financial bleeding between our two locations,” Arellano said.
“I am sad to say that we are having issues just like many other small businesses,” he wrote. “Not only are sales hurting because of all the restrictions, but staffing too.”
When a photo of C&C’s crowded Mother’s Day dining room surfaced on social media, the governor’s office and state health officials responded swiftly, suspending the Arellanos’ business license for 30 days. In response, the Arellanos announced they were suing Gov. Polis as well as other state entities for the forced closure.
Their lawsuit blamed Gov. Polis, the State of Colorado, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the Tri-County Health Department and the executive director of the CDPHE, Jill Hunsaker Ryan, for depriving them of their livelihood. They were able to reopen for dine-in business on June 14, a month after closing.
The Arellanos did not immediately respond to calls and emails on Tuesday to comment on the closure and the current state of their lawsuit.
“We choose to trust God in everything we do, not in government, not in fear, and not in hate,” they wrote Saturday on Facebook. “When hard times come, you see who your true friends are. The ones that stick with you, the ones that don’t just go with popular opinion. We have made so many good friends, and a lot of enemies.”
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