Employees and customers of the Ground Round restaurant in Johnson City were stunned to learn the place had gone out of business.

When workers showed up Wednesday morning to open the eatery, they were greeted with signs in the entrances stating it had "PERMANENTLY CLOSED."

Dan Warner, a Johnson City resident who had worked at the restaurant for more than eight years, said he was shocked when he saw the notices. He said: "It's like a kick in the butt."

Warner estimated about 40 people had worked at the Ground Round.

The building occupied by the Ground Round for the past decade previously housed a Chi-Chi's Mexican restaurant. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)

Bobby Volpe, who had been a cook for about four-and-a-half months, said "it was like a little family here." He said a new freezer was scheduled to be delivered at the restaurant Wednesday.

Volpe noted there had been some times in recent months when the restaurant closed early because business was slow. But he said the owner had given no indication that the place would be shutting down.

As the workers discussed the closing, several people arrived around lunchtime to discover they would have to change their plans.

The lights in the restaurant's kitchen were on but there were no signs of activity inside. The blinds in the buildings windows were down.

The Johnson City Ground Round opened near the Oakdale Mall in 2008. The location at 214 Reynolds Road was removed from the Ground Round website late Wednesday afternoon.

A sign posted at the Ground Round restaurant in Johnson City on August 22, 2018. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)

Contact WNBF News reporter Bob Joseph: bob@wnbf.com

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