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Photo by Dave Flessner / The building that housed 2 Squares A Day restaurant for the past 17 years on Amnicola Highway is being sold after the eatery closed last month. The fast-food restaurant was built in 1982 to house a Bojangles restaurant.

An Amnicola Highway breakfast and sandwich shop has shut down after 17 years of operation as the latest restaurant victim of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2 Squares A Day restaurant, which opened in 2003, closed permanently last month after offering drive-through and delivery service through the pandemic since March. The restaurant was owned by Jim Garth and Neal Stites, who posted a notice on the restaurant doors saying, "Thank you all for 17 great years!"

"Oh Pandemics really suck!" the note said.

The restaurant site originally was built for a Bojangles restaurant in 1982. Garth bought the restaurant building in 2003 and converted the facility into a breakfast, lunch and brunch food outlet that offered a variety of sandwiches, salads and breakfast items.

The property at 3399 Amnicola Highway is in the process of being sold to another investor, according to Realtor Rudy Walldorf.

Like other restaurants, 2 Squares A Day suffered from the drop in the number of people traveling back and forth to work each day on Amnicola Highway and the reluctance of many persons to eat out for both health and economic concerns during the ongoing pandemic.

A survey of 2,000 Americans released this week by Highland Solutions found that dining out has taken the biggest drop of any major spending category with 64% of Americans saying they have cut back on restaurant and dining out spending. Respondents said they have trimmed their spending during COVID-19 due to the need to be more cautious with their finances (60%), experiencing a reduced salary or income (49%), and staying home more often (40%).

In Chattanooga, the pandemic has already contributed to the closing this year of other area restaurants, including Jefferson's pub and restaurant downtown, the Beast + Barrel on the North Shore, Karl's Family Restaurant in Hixson and McDonald's on Signal Mountain.

Nationwide, a survey in September by the National Restaurant Association estimates that nearly one in six restaurants, of nearly 100,000 restaurants, will ultimately close or shut down for prolonged periods, putting nearly 3 million employees out of work. The survey, which asked restaurant operators in September about the six-month impact of the pandemic on their businesses, found that the foodservice industry is on track to lose $240 billion this year.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 757-6340

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