'Not An Easy Decision': Veteran-Owned Restaurant In Capital Region Shutting Its Doors

A struggling, veteran-owned restaurant in the region serving breakfast and lunch is shuttering after just over a year in business.

Cafe Twelve 04 in Rensselaer will permanently close on Sunday, Oct. 29. Inset: Owner Chris Phelan.

Cafe Twelve 04 in Rensselaer will permanently close on Sunday, Oct. 29. Inset: Owner Chris Phelan.

Photo Credit: Facebook users Cafe Twelve 04/Owens for Sherif

Rensselaer County eatery Cafe Twelve 04, located in Rensselaer at 1204 Washington Avenue, will serve its last guests on Sunday, Oct. 29, the business announced on Facebook.

“Whelp… Not a post I want to be posting but it’s only right, Sunday will be my last day open at the cafe,” owner Chris Phelan said. “Definitely not an easy decision by any means.”

After launching the restaurant in August 2022, Phelan, a US Army veteran, spent “countless dollars and hours” trying to stay open and optimistic, he said.

“Many, many nights of sleeplessness riddled with anxiety and worry as a SMALL LOCAL business owner has come to an end,” Phelan wrote, adding that he could no longer compete with “big businesses and drive-thru windows.”

He went on to thank the customers and three employees who supported his venture over the past 14 months.

“I can’t thank you enough…” he said. “I have tried my best. I may be down but I’m not out.”

Cafe Twelve 04 served a variety of breakfast and lunch dishes, as well as house-made donuts.

Among the selections to get a shoutout on Yelp were the breakfast burrito, the bacon and egg sandwich, and the fresh brewed coffee.

News of the impending closure prompted over 100 comments on the restaurant’s Facebook page, many of them offering Phelan words of encouragement.

“Sorry to hear. Every time I came in you delivered top notch service and food,” reads one comment. “You will be successful in your next step. Keep hammerin’!”

“I know this wasn’t an easy decision to make. You have dedicated many, many days and nights from the beginning to the end to make your establishment a beautiful place with stellar food and service,” reads another. “Keep on, keeping on! You got this!”

Phelan closed out his post by urging his followers to support small businesses.

“Whatever you do, wherever you go, please please please support any and all LOCAL businesses because they live here/there too!” he said. “Corporations don’t care about you like mom and pop places do!!!!”

Cafe Twelve 04 will be open daily until Sunday. Find out more on its website.

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