Persian Garden Cafe in Phoenix closing after 20 years of business

The COVID-19 pandemic is having lasting impacts on restaurants in the Valley and a favorite, in particular, is closing its doors.

Phoenix restaurant, Persian Garden Cafe, is closing after 20 years of business after the owner says they simply cannot afford the rent to keep their doors open.

Their rent increased from $2,500 to $3,500 and now customers are left heartbroken.

"I'm a little bit in shock. I don't know where I can go for good food like this," said customer Mahir Haque.

The cafe will be on 15th Avenue and Thomas Road until the end of January until it closes for a variety of reasons, says owner Mahmoud Jaafari.

"One is this pandemic, but the main reason that I am leaving is the increase of my rent by $1,000, almost 40% of what I was paying in January 2020," he explained.

During the pandemic, he says they lost 75% of their business and all their employees. Also, this year, the building was sold to Arizona Partners who requested a five-year lease from Jaafari, but he says it's just not something he can afford.

Customers are disheartened with the closing, like Haque, saying, "Seeing all of these businesses close down, and I just wish more could be done by the people in power to get more money to these businesses."

Arizona Partners, the company who bought the building, said no one was available for comment on this story.