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No, these Auburn restaurants are not permanently closing due to COVID-19
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No, these Auburn restaurants are not permanently closing due to COVID-19

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Sunset

The Sunset Restaurant in Auburn on Wednesday.

I edit The Citizen's features section, Lake Life, and weekly entertainment guide, Go. I've also been writing for The Citizen and auburnpub.com since 2006, covering arts and culture, business, food and drink, and more.

As local businesses endure the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, a few of Auburn's most popular restaurants are dealing with something else that's contagious: rumors.

Over the past few weeks, several readers have contacted The Citizen to say that Parker's Grille & Tap House, Curley's Restaurant and The Sunset Restaurant are all closing, permanently, due to the economic toll of being limited to takeout and delivery service since the middle of March.

However, upon being contacted by The Citizen, the proprietors of all three restaurants shot down those rumors.

In the case of Parker's and Curley's, those rumors may have started because neither restaurant is offering takeout or delivery during the pandemic. It isn't worth the cost, both said. 

"Auburn is loaded with people doing to-go," Parker's manager Carol Hendrickson said. "It's harder to compete."

That's why Parker's, which has four locations, is offering takeout in Seneca Falls. Customers have fewer options there, Hendrickson said.

But restaurants also have to compete with unemployment insurance, she continued. Increased by $600 a week due to the pandemic, it offers most restaurant workers more than they would make under normal circumstances. It certainly offers them more than they would make from takeout and delivery only, and the resulting loss of tips.

Regardless, the Genesee Street location of Parker's will reopen, Hendrickson said. Restaurants are included in phase three of New York state's reopening plan, which could begin as soon as mid-June. Seating capacity will likely be reduced by 50% or more, but restaurants like Parker's could compensate for that if they're allowed to expand their outdoor seating areas, Hendrickson added.

"We are definitely going to be open again, no ifs, ands or buts," she said. "We've been there a long time, and we're not going anywhere."

Curley's owner Susan DelloStritto is a bit less committal. She's waiting for the state's guidelines so she can make an educated decision if, and how, to reopen the State Street restaurant, she said.

"My father and I are the business decision-makers and have not once said we are closing," she said. "I find it funny how rumors start and run."

The Sunset, meanwhile, has been speculated to be closing despite offering takeout during the pandemic. But the North Division Street restaurant isn't going anywhere, operator Mary Sedor said.

The Sunset has been owned by a partnership since March 22, when her husband, longtime owner and operator Peter Sedor, passed away at the age of 91. His parents opened the restaurant in 1933.

Mary Sedor said Dennis Sedor, who's representing his father in the settling of his estate, has graciously allowed her to operate the restaurant on their behalf.

"We look forward to serving the community for many years to come," she said.

Lake Life Editor David Wilcox can be reached at (315) 282-2245 or david.wilcox@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @drwilcox.

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I edit The Citizen's features section, Lake Life, and weekly entertainment guide, Go. I've also been writing for The Citizen and auburnpub.com since 2006, covering arts and culture, business, food and drink, and more.

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