Mike and Gayle’s Restaurant Closing after 33 Years as Benicia Fixture

Despite healthy sales, high rent at center ultimately led to decision to shut the doors.

After 33 years in the restaurant business in Benicia, Mike and Gayle Ioakimedes are shutting the doors to their popular Southampton Center eatery.  They plan to serve their last meal on September 3.

“Despite this sudden announcement, this was not a hasty decision,” said Mike Ioakimedes in a release sent out Thursday afternoon.  “My wife, Gayle, and I have been in negotiations with our landlords for almost a year, but ultimately did not reach an agreement that would work for both parties.”

The restaurant opened in its current location in 2010 after being closed for a year.  The restaurant  was in the Tannery Building prior to opening in Southampton Center.

“Business is good—in fact, we’re on track to have one of our best years ever—but not good enough to afford the rent in our current location, which is more than double what we’ve paid at any of our previous locations,” said Ioakimedes.

The original location of Mike and Gayle’s was the Washington House in the space now occupied by Kinder’s.  The restaurant moved to the Tannery building  but lost that space in 2009 when new owners took possession of the building.

When the couple reopened the restaurant in 2010 old customers continued to support the business. “Although we thought maintaining our current market share after being closed for 12 months would be the most difficult part of the plan, from our opening day at this location in February of 2010, our regulars returned and welcomed us back with open arms, said Ioakimedes. “Business continued to grow, thanks to our old regulars and new regulars, too. Unfortunately, it simply wasn’t enough to make doing business in this location feasible in the long term.”

The couple will miss their customers who have supported them over the years. “Whether we were at Mike & Gayle’s, The Shoreline, Pop’s, or Washington House, we’ve never had a customer base—we’ve had a restaurant community, and saying good-bye to that community is going to be the toughest part of closing,” said Ioakimedes.

Ioakimedes closed by saying, “We’d like to thank each and every member of Mike & Gayle’s community for your years of support, patience, and loyalty.  You made what many think of as a tough business a joy.”


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Riley Willerson August 19, 2012 at 11:08 PM
Robert, please at times you become the white Bobbie, not racist as in color of one mans skin (Bobbie), racist as in political affiliation. Be smart, don't take the bait, although I like your idea of $100, but hard times are on us, 8 years of Bush and 4 years of Obama make it a stretch for many, just saying..
Vivian M. Salas August 20, 2012 at 03:32 AM
What is venergerettes sauce and Rhy Bread??
Lee Ann Teasdale August 20, 2012 at 04:23 AM
I have worked for Mike and Gayle's for 15 years now. I know them to be honest and good people. They are the very definition of integrity. Their goal has always been to offer fresh food, cooked fresh, and with care. I've said it before, and I'll say it again...If heaven does not smell like Gayle's kitchen- then I'm out! This is a sad state of affairs. I will miss them, and I wish them all the best.
Linda Lou August 20, 2012 at 09:00 AM
Vivian, I will repeat my answer to Bobby: Please, please get spell check. "Venergeretts" sauce?? Vinaigrette, my friend - not a sauce either, incidentally. And rye bread. There is even spell check on these comments, if it is underlined in red: PAY ATTENTION!
Beate Brühl August 25, 2012 at 06:23 AM
The silver lining of all the closures at South Hampton is that it has enlivend DOWNTOWN. ABC Music, and the book store have been a really interesting addition.


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