Popular downtown Missoula diner closing

The Uptown Diner in downtown Missoula announced it is closing its doors on Feb. 18, 2018. (KECI)

It has been a staple in downtown Missoula for nearly three decades. But in two weeks, the Uptown Diner will close for good.

"The Macy's going down next door really hurt us a lot," said longtime waitress Linda Maples.

Inside the diner on Monday morning, employees are all talking about one thing.

"We just found out last Tuesday that we would be closing," said Maples.

For Linda Maples, it's all she's known for the past 27 years.

"It's been a great place to work," she said.

She's also seen it all, since the first cup of coffee poured in 1991.

"(The diner) was an ugly brown and yellow color. And (the owner) changed it and put up the ugly pink and turquoise," Maples said.

And now, news of the closure is settling in.

"Our boss put the diner up for sale, I think it was like in November, and we didn't think it was going to sell," Maples said.

If you've eaten there, then you already know Wes White.

"It's gonna be nice because I haven't had a vacation in some time," he joked Monday.

You have also likely tasted Jon Black's food.

"I've been here for the last three years. I've been cooking for 26 years. This is the hardest departure I've known," said Black.

It's more than just a restaurant.

"I had my first date here. I came here as a kid. I came here with my grandparents," he said.

The biggest unanswered question is what happens next.

"Thirteen people will be out of jobs," said Maples. "So if anybody knows of anything, stop by. We are all good, hardworking people."

In the meantime, you have a little less than two weeks to get in one more sip of a shake. Chocolate, by the way, remains the most popular, according to Maples.

The diner's last day is Feb. 18. The new owners say they are not ready to publicly announce what's next for the building.

In the meantime, employees are selling t-shirts for $15 each. All the money raised goes directly to employees. If you'd like to buy one, you can stop by the diner at 120 N. Higgins Ave., in downtown Missoula.

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