After several challenging months of restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, neighborhood eatery Lou & Mike’s in East Long Beach is closing on Wednesday, Nov. 25.

Owner Mike Balchin didn’t mince words when it came to the reason for the restaurant’s closure.

“My pockets are only so deep,” he said. “The neighbors, they like the place, but there’s only so much we can do.”

A business owner—he’s a former owner of River’s End Cafe in Seal Beach—real estate contractor and lifetime honorary member of the Long Beach Police Officers Association’s executive team, Balchin has deep roots in the community. Giving up Lou & Mike’s, which first opened its doors on February 11, 2018, hasn’t been an easy decision. Balchin said he even sold his home in Naples to help support the restaurant, but it wasn’t enough.

“I’d like to stay but I can’t do it,” he added.

Now, Balchin is hoping to find a buyer to take over the space, equipment and—ideally—his crew.

“I’ve got a team ready to go,” he said.