PHOENIX (KSAZ) - A popular Valley restaurant is closing its doors at the end of the month.
Coup Des Tartes has been around since the mid 1990s. The French bistro was forced to move about four years ago. A year ago, voters approved a minimum wage increase that also required paid sick leave. Those increased expenses, apparently, turned out to be financially overwhelming.
"You know it's bittersweet," said Coup Des Tartes' owner, Ron Pacioni. "It's really bitter actually."
Pacioni admits he is not ready to close down the business that has been his labor of love, since he purchased it 12 years ago. Pacioni, however, said he was facing an uphill battle, since moving to their new location on Osborn and 17th Street in 2015.
"Increased competition," said Pacioni. "Everybody wants to be a restaurateur, and the new labor laws went into effect, and restaurants work on such a small margin, and when we have to do things that aren't budgeted, it's gotta come out of somewhere."
The bistro opened at its original location on 16th Street and Highland in 1996, and has a loyal following, including Catherine Amiot. Amiot went on her first date 15 years ago, with the man who became her husband.
"I like the personal touch," said Amiot. "The owner always comes by and asks how the food is and welcomes you. It's very personal, and you don't find that in a lot of restaurants, and everything is handmade, so the food is always fresh and delicious."
"We're not looking at this as a funeral," said Pacioni. "We've celebrated everything from baptisms to weddings to birthdays and anniversaries and everything in between, and so, we want people to come out and say goodbye to their favorite little bistro."
Officials with the Arizona Restaurant Association say while it's too soon for any statistics, the changes in the labor laws have made a huge impact on smaller restaurants. They also agree it's not just the minimum wage increase, but also the new sick time policy.
Coup Des Tartes will be open, until January 31.