NORTHBRIDGE (CBS) – It’s one cheeseburger on the grill for one of the last customers at Laurieann’s Restaurant and Bar in Northbridge.
One year after she opened her restaurant, owner Laurieann Caterino has been dealing with a massive bridge replacement project outside her door, and it’s cost her so much business she’s closing for good. “It’s absolutely awful, I can’t keep it together,” she tells WBZ-TV.
Her customers have had trouble getting access to the door with the restaurant surrounded by jersey barriers, and now few places to park. The daily special has been construction crews, and her customer base has been dwindling. “I’m proud of the fact I held out as long as I did, I’m not a quitter,” she says.
It was the location on busy Route 122 that was the first attraction, but she says she had no idea the project was in the works. When she first opened she says lines were out the door to get inside for breakfast, lunch and dinner as she worked nearly fifteen hour days. “We had four waitresses, three cooks, a bartender, bus boy, it was amazing,”she says. “Now look around, I’ve got one table in the place on a Friday afternoon when it should be busy.”
At the table was Robert and Marguerite DuBois, longtime customers who’ve been determined to remain loyal despite the hassles of construction. “There were lights set up, traffic would stop, then it would be piled up from end to the other,” said DuBois.
A spokesman with MassDOT says the project was delayed a year due to “the discovery of varying elevations of ledge that forced the southern end of the bridge to be completely redesigned.”
The state also says the barriers have been necessary to ensure public safety, and businesses are not compensated for losses during construction.
“They came and told us they’d work with us, but they didn’t work with us,” said Caterino. She says her life savings were poured into the business and she’s lost everything. Now she’s serving up the last of the fish and chips, and wishing she could remain as loyal to her last remaining customers.
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