Maria's Italian Cafe Closing

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- After serving our community for 90 years, a Stateline staple is shutting down. Maria's in Rockford will close by the end of the year.

It's an announcement a lot of people are having a hard time digesting.

The owner, Joe Cason says the decision was bittersweet, but his family decided to leave the restaurant business because it's not the same.

Cason says it's a decision he's thought about for awhile and says business has been steady, but it's time to move on. He says it's more about location and convenience for people and over time, the crowd has changed. Cason says the restaurant was named after his grandmother Maria in the 1920's. Since then, workers have served quite a few famous faces including president George H.W. Bush. He says it's hard to say goodby but it's great to see how much the restaurant has impacted the community.

"We've been very fortunate. We've been blessed by the community, you know to support us all these years. I'm third generation and it's amazing to see so many families who come through here and spent special moments celebrating births and birthdays," said owner Joe Cason.

Pictures line the walls of the restaurant capturing memories from over the years. Cason tells us some customers have already tried taking a few pictures home. His next problem is to find where to put them once the restaurant closes.

Cason says right now, there are no plans to open another location. The restaurant will close December 31st.

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- It bills itself as Rockford's oldest and finest Italian restaurant, but at the end of this year it will not longer be the oldest.

Maria's Italian Cafe on Cunnigham will be closing down on New Year's Eve of this year. The restaurant has been pretty much a lone fine dining outpost on Rockford's southwest side for over 90 years.

We'll have reaction tonight on 23 News at 5.

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