Frank Enciso glanced at a sign in front of Narsi's Hof Brau at Coddingtown Mall on Wednesday, advertising an “eviction special” for $10.
“I'll have that,” said Enciso, a Santa Rosa resident and longtime patron. “Then I'm going to cry because it's closing.”
Owner Narsi Samii, 62, who's run the restaurant for 27 years, spent the lunch hour shaking hands and sharing embraces with customers.
“This is the end of the line for me,” Samii said. “They can have the key to the restaurant.”
At 6:01 a.m. Thursday, a court-ordered notice for Samii to vacate the cafeteria-style restaurant takes effect, giving the Simon Property Group control of the premises.
The turnover caps Samii's two-year legal battle against Simon's effort to evict him in favor of a tenant that draws more customers to the 1960s-era shopping center.
“We wish Mr. Samii all the best, but after years of litigation, the court has issued a judgment regarding Narsi's that we will abide by and enforce,” said Kim Hall, marketing director for Coddingtown.
Simon, which bought a 50 percent stake in Coddingtown in 2005, is seeking a number of new tenants to reinvigorate the 880,000-square foot mall, originally built by developer Hugh Codding.
Hall said it is “premature” to announce any specific tenants, but noted that a Whole Foods grocery is scheduled to open in October in a space that already bears its name.
At his usual station behind the cash register, Samii received condolences from customers almost as if he were at a funeral reception.
“I'm really sorry,” Gail Alford of Santa Rosa told the restaurateur.
Once a month, Alford and two friends had lunch at Narsi's following a quilters' meeting at Coddingtown.
“We're all upset,” said Ronda Turk of Santa Rosa, one of the trio.