Longtime Favorite Tony’s Café Among Recent Plano Restaurant Closings

Owners Tony and Lina Richa in 2017 // photos Emilee Prado
Owners Tony and Lina Richa in 2017 // photos Emilee Prado

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit communities across the globe hard and has also adversely impacted the world economy. And no group has been harder hit than small businesses, especially restaurants. Some in Plano were successfully able to quickly pivot from dine-in to take out and delivery service while others decided to shut down temporarily or permanently.

Tony’s Café, which was located at 909 W. Spring Creek Parkway, and had been in business since 1989, went the take out and curbside route for several months and even welcomed a limited number of customers back for dine-in service once they were able to partially reopen.

However, after their air conditioning went out in early June, a main breaker burned out and their landlord was unwilling to work with them, owners Lina and Tony Richa decided to call it quits, announcing the permanent closing of Tony’s on Facebook on June 27.

“It’s tragic,” Lina said.

And yes, the pandemic was one key factor in their decision.

Tony's Cafe had been in business since 1989 // photos Emilee Prado
Tony’s Cafe had been in business since 1989 // photos Emilee Prado

“Well, the pandemic accelerated it. We’ve been thinking about retiring for the last couple years and how to do it and everything,” Tony said. “That’s not the end we hoped for, but we had no choice. The circumstances and the landlord’s lack of cooperation and problems with the electricity, the AC, all these and COVID-19 lack of business, it made it next to impossible to continue.”

Over the last 31 years, the Richas had developed a solid base of customers, a group they came to regard as extended family. That’s exactly why closing so abruptly is hard to swallow for this hard-working couple.

“It hurts not to see the people. They are family to us,” Lina said. “We loved our business and we have a history there. I was expecting my daughter when we opened. It’s so sad to get to that point in your life, to sell at least. You have a legacy, you have clientele, you have a reputation. We’re not ready to retire retire. We’re not that old, but we were consumed by the facts.”

The Richas take incredible pride in serving the Plano community great food for over three decades and for creating a spot where customers became friends.

“We did live the American dream, I can tell you that,” Lina said.

Lina is known for the angel pins she wears and frequently gives to and gets from customers
Lina is known for the angel pins she wears and frequently gives to and gets from customers

They won’t rule out returning to the Plano restaurant scene in the future, once things normalize, but will see how the future presents itself before making any decisions.

“We will wait and see. We don’t mind being in business,” Lina Richa said. “It’s a responsibility when you own a business because if you have pride, you have to do it the right way. We’ll wait and see but I don’t mind later having a job, helping people. I believe we succeeded [at that].”

Plano restaurants that have announced permanent closures during the pandemic:

Amazeballz
In April founder Jaime Wiggins closed her Downtown Plano and Allen locations specializing in cake balls after starting the concept in her home seven years ago.

Barnes & Noble Kitchen
The restaurant and the Legacy West bookstore it sat inside have been closed since June 26.

Beyond Veggies Grill

The eatery offered create-your-own bowls, salads, tacos and wraps using animal- and plant-based meats, but the phone number to the now-former Plano location has been disconnected.

Brix Bar & Grill

Popular spot in Downtown Plano had been open since 2016 but owners Brett and Julie Pope opted to close for good on April 28.

Ginger’s Popcorn

The second location of this Hot Springs, Arkansas-based operation opened in May 2019 and closed in March.

Jimboy’s Tacos

First DFW location of the California-based chain had been in business since fall 2014.

Roy’s

Renowned Asian-Hawaiian spot off the Dallas North Tollway had been in operation since 2002 and closed its only Texas location in March.

Sip & Savor
The California-inspired restaurant and wine bar in the old Wells family homestead on Coit Road closed in March at the onset of the pandemic.

Tony’s Cafe

Tony and Lina Richa announced their decision to retire on June 27.

Viridescent Kitchen
This relatively new all-vegan kitchen just off The Boardwalk at Granite Park closed in late May.

Wa Kubota

The Japanese restaurant announced on its website it would close on April 30.


Updates from the editor:
Barnes & Noble Kitchen closure was added July 3.

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7 Comments

  • Hello Stephen,

    My family have been going to Tony’s for 25 years. We did not realize it was closing. Do Tony and Lena have an e-mail address where we can send them a note to wish them the best?

    Thanks!

  • Tony’s was my favorite place for breakfast. As soon as I walked in they started preparing my super crisp bacon. They will be sorely missed.

  • My wife and I have been going to Tony’s since we moved here back in 1995. Great Food. I loved the breakfast platters, greek salads and can I say the Cinnamon Rolls? I am a teacher and can’t go as often as I could, but I was wanting to go next week during my summer break, when my wife and daughter just sent me the link to this article. What a shame.

    This was one of those places where I could could stop by a year later and still be greeted with a “Hi, How are You? How is your family and Michelle doing?”. Lina had a gift for remembering people.

    I really hope when things get close to normal that we can see a Tony’s Cafe 2.0 rise up again at a new location. Fingers Crossed!

    JohnK

  • We will miss eating with you Lina and Toney! So heartbreaking. Thank you for your years of loving service and hospitality to our community. You will be missed.

  • Oh no! This is sad news. We’ve been going to Tony’s Cafe for decades. Since before our son was born, who is now 18. I hope they will be able to reopen after this pandemic. If so, we will be there the first week.

  • This is terrible news. Tony and Lina are wonderful people that cared about their customers and their customers became their friends.
    I have had numerous health issues to deal with and their food is terrific. Lina was always watching out for me.
    I sure hope that we can find their contacts.

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