Business

Tuesday, Dec 04 2012 03:38 PM

Closure disrupts restaurant's feeding tradition

BY JOHN COX Californian staff writer jcox@bakersfield.com

A California Avenue restaurant that has fed the hungry around Thanksgiving and again at Christmas for more than two decades has shut down, leaving the fate of the feeding operation up in the air.

Clay's Restaurant at 1530 California Ave. closed Friday, the owners' daughter, Annie Hutchings, said Tuesday. She added that all its employees there were moved to the chain's other location.

She said it's unclear whether the family's feeding tradition will be moved to the other Clay's at 1500 Wible Road. There's no time to arrange a feeding for later this month, and the family doesn't want to disturb its neighbors on Wible.

"I don't know what's going to happen," she said. "We may end up taking food to the homeless center."

The reason for the change is that her parents, Victor and Isabel Romero, are nearly 80 years old and after working 15 hours a day, seven days a week, Hutchings said, "it's time for them to slow down a little bit."

Going forward, the expectation is that the program will continue in one form or another. Hutchings said her father, who came up with the "no questions asked" feeding program over dinner 22 years ago, expects her to continue the tradition.

"My father is very convincing when it comes to his child, which is me," she said.

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