Sun sets on Sunrise Diner

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The Sunrise Diner, a popular Maricopa eatery for more than 15 years, has closed its doors for good according to owner Billy Godwin. [Brian Petersheim Jr.]

A Maricopa institution is no more.

Sunrise Diner, an eatery that has welcomed patrons in Maricopa nearly as long as the city has been incorporated, has closed.

Formerly called Sunrise Café, the eatery at 20917 N. John Wayne Pkwy. near Fry’s Marketplace has been under new ownership since 2020 and been plagued recently by poor health inspections and flagging business.

Owner Billy Godwin is trying to sell the diner for $195,000, according to a listing on BizBuySell.com. Management lamented the need to sell in a post on its Facebook page.

“We want to sadly announce that Sunrise Café has officially closed its doors for good,” the post read. “With the decline of revenue by about 50% and the current landlords unwilling to work on a solution nor use our $15,000 deposit given at the time of purchase, To help in such instances.

“We are so thankful to all our loyal customers, supporters, regulars, and even the people who had nothing nice to say. You all were part of our journey that has led to some absolutely amazing relationships throughout our community. From our family to yours, thank you all for the experience.”

InMaricopa previously reported Godwin paid $90,000 for the restaurant in 2020.

The listing states monthly rent on the 2,800-square-foot space is $4,666.67 per month, but Godwin told InMaricopa that with the “triple-net” expenses – real estate taxes, building insurance and maintenance – the lease cost him more than $7,000 per month, more than a similarly-sized space in Ahwatukee would cost, he said.

“It’s unfortunate, but we’ve lost a lot of mom-and-pop businesses here in town over the years, going all the way back to Ramsey’s and Teakwoods and Mama T’s Pizza,” Godwin said. “We’ve lost a lot of good dinner places because they just can’t keep up with the rent and the landlords aren’t willing to work with us.”

A Notice of Re-Entry and Landlord’s Lien was posted on the door of the restaurant stating:

“TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN:

“Due to the tenant’s failure to pay rent and breach of the lease, the landlord of these premises, the landlord has re-entered and taken possession thereof, pursuant to A.R.S. 36-361 § (A.).

“Further, the landlord has a lien upon and has seized the personal property located on the premises to secure payment of rent pursuant to A.R.S. § 33-361 (D) and 33-362.

“UNAUTHORIZED ENTRY OF THESE PREMISES OR REMOVAL OF PROPERTY THEREFROM MAY RESULT IN CRIMINAL AND/OR CIVIL PROSECUTION.”

The notice is signed by Walter H. Gilbert of the Scottsdale law firm Gilbert Bird.

The restaurant closed at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is when Godwin purchased it, remodeling and renovating the space.

1 COMMENT

  1. Love ’em or hate ’em. Restaurants are subjective. Some like ’em, some don’t. But I’m afraid this is the beginning of more to come. Small business are under attack. Let’s try and Buy Maricopa and keep our small businesses afloat. We are a community, let’s support each other and start being kind to each other.