On Thursday, Jan. 18, Joe Mazzotti says he had nobody to cook at Mazzotti’s, so he didn’t open the iconic Arcata Plaza restaurant. “December was probably one of the toughest financial Decembers I’ve had to face,” he says, explaining the restaurant was only pulling in about half of its usual $5,000 per night. “My money ran out and I was unable to keep our employees paid on time,” prompting some of the more than 40 staff members to look for work elsewhere. “People gotta do what they gotta do.” For him, that means shutting down the restaurant.
Mazzotti, who closed down the Eureka Mazzotti’s location in 2019, says he’s considered opening the Mazzotti’s Arcata bar with a limited menu but decided against it. “The bills are piling up and I’ve just have run short on finances … it’s a financial fact of life,” he says. That includes outstanding payments to Wallace & Hinz for the custom bar the Blue Lake company built, over which he’s been in court. “I’m working through some plans and I’ve got some people who are interested in helping, but I’m not sure I want to burn thru their money and wind up in the same position in a month,” he says. Instead, he says he’s working on settling his debts to vendors and employees. He plans to sell the business, which has been on the market, now without the Mazzotti’s name attached to it.
There are, Mazzotti says, a couple of interested buyers with whom he’s in the process of negotiating, and given the prime location of the restaurant and its recent overhaul, he’s optimistic. Still, he says, “I’m tremendously saddened by all this, it’s a very emotional time for me. But God has a plan for us.”