Carson City’s Grandma Hattie’s closing on Wednesday
A Carson City icon is closing.
Grandma Hattie’s, the family restaurant operating on South Carson Street for three decades, is shutting its doors at 3 p.m. today.
The business, owned by John Hurzel, may reopen elsewhere in the future, but for now it’s serving its last meal.
“It’s been a great run. Carson City has been very good to me and my family,” said Hurzel. “I’ll miss the people. I totally love what I do and the people. The staff is my extended family.”
Hurzel will continue to operate his catering business, A Catered Affair, but now out of the kitchen at the Artisan Cafe, located at the corner of Carson and 7th streets.
Hurzel sold the 6,215 square-foot Grandma Hattie’s building in May to Northern Nevada Comstock Investments LLC for $1.02 million.
The investment group is managed by David Scott Tate who also owns C.O.D. Casino Corp., which operates the C.O.D. Casino in downtown Minden.
Hurzel said, though, he has no idea what the new owner has planned.
“He has yet to take out a business license or a building permit,” Hurzel said. “He just asked us to stay until September.”
Hurzel purchased the diner in 1986 from Denny’s, which operated it for a couple years after buying it from VIPs, a now-defunct restaurant chain that was located there for about five years.
“This was the end of town then. There were no car dealers. The end of the frontage road was the end of town,” said Hurzel.
The new restaurant was originally called Scotty’s. Hurzel and his brother and sister already managed the first Scotty’s two miles up the road at 1480 N. Carson St., where Living the Good Life is now located.
Six months after buying the building a fire started in the deep fryer due to what Hurzel said was faulty wiring installed by the previous owner.
The restaurant suffered mostly smoke and water damage. Insurance didn’t cover the cost of gutting it, said Hurzel, so the family sold the Scotty’s in north Carson in order to pay for the rehab of the restaurant at the south end of town.
The new owner of Scotty’s kept the name so Hurzel and his siblings rechristened their restaurant Grandma Hattie’s in honor of their mother.
The diner also became a regular meeting place for dozens of community organizations over the years from the Lions Club to several Toastmasters groups.
“Originally the building had a bar with a separate entrance. We made a decision not to be in the bar business. We wanted a family restaurant,” said Hurzel. “So we stripped it out and made it into a meeting area.”
Hurzel informed the groups still meeting there last spring they would soon need to move on as he did his 22 employees.
“This all started in November and when I knew it was a sure thing I sat my crew down. I tried to encourage them to find jobs by the summer when people are hiring,” said Hurzel. “Most found other jobs but some are working until the end out of loyalty and friendship.”
Those workers plan to gather in the restaurant and commemorate it after the doors close today.
“They deserve that. Our family had our farewell a couple of weeks ago,” said Hurzel. “People are aware we’re closing and have been in to say their good byes.”
One such long-time customer is Gene Erskine.
“I’ve been coming here since the day he opened and before that at his old place,” said Erskine. “This is going to be a big loss.”