Red Robin owner turns restaurant closure into celebration for la - Tucson News Now

Red Robin owner turns restaurant closure into celebration for late husband

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

In 1986, Anne Barnes and her husband, Dan, took over a space formerly known as Joe's Oyster Bar and turned it into Tucson's first Red Robin Gourmet Burgers. 

"It was small, confined, fine dining. We looked at it and saw the possibilities," Barnes said. 

They've been serving burgers, fries and shakes at the Tucson Mall location for more than 30 years. 

The restaurant will be closing its doors on July 4. Barnes said the parent company decided to not renew the franchise agreement. 

"I walk in here and I am just so proud of the staff." Barnes said. She said some of the 70 staff members have been with the restaurant for years. 

"A lot of great memories. It saddens us to have to close this chapter," Barnes said. 

Not only does this mark the end of this eatery, but for Barnes, it's also letting go of some memories of her husband that are found within the walls of the restaurant. 

"It's another hard loss," Barnes said. "My heart is broken." 

Dan passed away in October of 2015, after a nine month battle with ALS. 

"It came and went very quickly. It was alarming."

In the final days before the doors close, Barnes said she wants to help the organization that supported her and Dan during those months. 

"We had to elicit quite of bit of help from the local chapter of ALS in Tucson," Barnes said. 

A portion of the proceeds from now until the July 4 will go towards the ALS Association of Arizona.

A final celebration in the place Dan helped build. 

"We wanted to take something that is a negative, impacting so many of our lives and turn it into a celebration and the best way to do that is through Dan," Barnes said. 

You can find more information about the ALS Association of Arizona HERE

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