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Joplin's Ryan's restaurant closes - KOAM TV 7

Joplin's Ryan's restaurant closes

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Ryan's buffet was located on a busy part of Rangeline Road, across from the Northpark Mall.  The building where the restaurant was is nothing more than a shell now.  But during our visit there this afternoon, a steady stream of loyal customers were still pulling into the parking lot.  They were surprised at the closure, and sympathetic to former employees.

No food.

"They had a good variety of stuff at a fair price," says former customer Mary Hood.

No service.

"We're going to miss it," says former customer Michael Gilmore.

And no work.

"The worst part is, I'm going to miss all my regulars," says former employee Patricia Scales.

23-year-old Scales, who worked as a server at Ryan's buffet for about a year, says there were plenty of regulars.

Former customer Gilmore says he would eat at Ryan's probably twice a week.

Gilmore says, "Sometimes a little bit more.  I might be lying!"

But the restaurant is now closed for good.  Scales says it's impacting about 25 workers.

"We were more than team members.  We were a family," says Scales.

News of the closure was served up on Wednesday.  Workers were called in for a special meeting with managers, told they were being laid off, and given no reason why.  

Then, according to Scales, managers asked workers if they could stick around to help clean out the building.

"98 percent of us did.  We were family, and we were going to stick together until the end," says Scales.

Scales says employees like herself who stuck around got paid for eight hours, doing four hours of work.  A short time after, moving trucks arrived.  Those trucks are still parked in front of the building, one day later.

Those who favored this restaurant say right now, there's a bigger void than just good food.

"They're all out of work.  No Christmas for them, probably," says Gilmore.

"We're all a strong group of people.  I know we will stand up and go on, move on," says Scales.

Ryan's corporate office says their Joplin location closed because the company's lease expired in the building.  No other details were available.

Scales says she was offered severance pay.  Details of that were included in a packet that also included details of unemployment benefits.  Scales has yet to look over all the information.

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