Owners of Iconic Route 66 Wilmington Restaurant assure community it’s NOT permanently closed 

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WILMINGTON – The owners of the iconic Launching Pad assured the community Thursday they’re not going anywhere.

The message came after several Route 66 social media groups reported the restaurant had closed, permanently after shutting its doors in July. The Launching Pad, famous for its Gemini Giant fiberglass statue, stands next to Route 66.

Co-Owner Tully Garrett updated the future of the restaurant in a Facebook post Thursday morning citing recent repairs made to the property, the current closure of the restaurant is temporary.

“IT IS NOT PERMANENTLY CLOSED,” Garrett wrote Thursday, adding his family has viewed ownership of the restaurant as a bonding experience that has brought them much community pride.

Since 2017, the current owners have invested into full restoration of the property, including various utilities and restoration of the Gemini Giant, adding lighting so the icon could be viewed at night.

“As the drive-through lines at the McDonald’s and Chick-fil-A’s across the nation continue to get longer and longer more and more small mom and pop shops fade away.” Garrett added, asking residents try to be patient while both he and his co-owner, Holly Barker, battle health issues. “So the restaurant has been temporarily closed for the last 10 weeks. Not 10 years just 10 weeks as we try to sort through and see what options are available.  Online sales are still taking place and several days a week the building is open for travelers to come through coffee, drinks and Souvenirs.”

In Thursday’s update, Garrett also addressed a claim circulating the restaurant had not fully paid some of its employees.

“False narrative that in the end we did not pay our employees?  Completely false and if anyone feels they were never paid appropriately please contact me directly and I will look into it and make sure that you were.  We have a certified public accountant that handles all our financial affairs and we always kept everything top-notch and  in order. Again naysayers fueling the fire.” said Garrett in the update. “We have everything invested into this and simply we are  not going to walk away and let it crash and burn. I assure you that you can be certain that Launching Pad is not going anywhere nor is The Gemini Giant.

Both owners are planning to meet with City of Wilmington officials in October to address the recent closure.

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