BELLEVUE (NBC26) — When Becky Sitkoski opened Greenwich Bistro in Bellevue five years ago, it was a dream come true.
“I have had a dream of opening my own place since I was seven years old," said Sitkoski. "It’s what I always knew I wanted to do.”
Having worked in the hospitality industry for 20 years, Sitkoski's stayed true to her vision for her own restaurant, serving organic, locally-sourced, farm-to-table dishes and drinks. On Friday October ninth, Sitkoski announced that she would be serving her last meal in two days.
“It was a really emotional decision," said Sitkoski. "But we know we’re better off.”
Despite a tear-filled farewell on her business's Facebook page, Sitkoski remains optimistic about the situation. Business had been down 40 percent every month since the pandemic hit in March, when she started looking around for backup plans. With a two-year-old child at home, Sitkoski said it's not worth the stress of worrying day after day if she's bring COVID home.
“In a way, it is a relief," said Sitkoski. "We don’t have to worry about all the stress of sales and keeping employees safe and keeping customers safe. You want to keep your dream alive but you want to protect your family too. The customers have been the reason why we come to work every day for the last five years.”
That family doesn't includes more than her husband and daughter, said Sitkoski.
“We’re definitely going to miss it, we’ve had so many people walk through our door that have instantly become family," she said. "Our employees have become family, we got married here, we had a baby while we were here.”
Although revenue loss was a major deciding factor for closing, 80 percent of Greenwich Bistro's clientele is high-risk for COVID-19, said Sitkoski.
“We have people who are going through chemotherapy or recovered from cancer," she said. “Our regulars that have been here for the last five years they’re just not comfortable coming.”
Sitkoski has already started applying for jobs, looking for part-time work so she can keep her daughter out of daycare. While she closes up and cleans out her restaurant, she has listed tables, chairs and other pieces on Facebook. Although she soon will no longer be a small business owner, she begs everyone in the community to continue to support people who are like her.
“Keeping your money local keeps all of these businesses surviving," Sitkoski said.