Longtime customers say goodbye as Tribella Bar and Grill in Batavia closes its doors after 26 years
Over the years, Wendy and David Beebe spent a lot of time at Tribella Bar and Grill in Batavia.
The St. Charles couple was enjoying one last meal at the restaurant on Sunday before it closed its doors.
"We've come here for a long, long time," Wendy Beebe said. "This is my favorite restaurant. The food is great. The food, the atmosphere, everything is just wonderful. We always came here for my birthday and for other special occasions. So it's really sad that it's closing."
The owners of Acquaviva have purchased the building from Christine DiGuglielmo, who co-owned the restaurant with her husband, Joe. Acquaviva recently closed its restaurant on Water Street in downtown Batavia. It has another location, Acquaviva Winery, in Maple Park.
After 26 years of being in business, the Italian-American bistro, located at 1900 Mill St., took its last orders on Sunday.
Like other businesses, Tribella was hit hard by the pandemic.
"The business never recovered after COVID," said Christine DiGuglielmo. "Times have changed. We're a nice sit-down restaurant and that's kind of gone away. People are more fast-paced. You can't survive with a 6,000-square-foot sit-down nice restaurant on only to go orders. We lost so much money. And the cost of everything has gone up and business never came back."
Tribella first opened its doors in 1997. The Sugar Grove couple in June 2007 purchased the restaurant from its original owners.
Bartender Katie Smith is going to miss seeing the customers.
"They're like family to us," she said. "I always say it's the 'Cheers' bar of restaurants. People have been coming here since it opened. I met a couple these last few days who said they had their first date here in 1998. We're all pretty close-knit."
She has worked at Tribella since 2015. During that time, she has worked as a bartender, server and manager at the restaurant.
One of those longtime customers that was sitting at the bar on Sunday was Rod Carver, of Plainfield. He previously lived in Batavia.
He has been coming to the restaurant ever since it opened.
"The people are friendly," he said. "You get to know everyone."
He also is a friend of the owners and would babysit their son, Joe, when he was younger.
Joe DiGuglielmo was glad to see so many longtime customers.
"We tried to invite everybody back this last week just to say goodbye," he said. "You hear from people about how they were here for their high school homecoming and then they had their wedding rehearsal here and their kids' baptism here. So that's the amazing part about being around for 20 some years. You really are tied to a community as far as being a part of their lives."