The Yakima Sports Center closed nearly a year ago when COVID-19 hit the county.

It won’t reopen, its owners have decided.

“It just got to the point it was not feasible,” said Craig Carroll, co-owner of the restaurant for nine years.

The Yakima Sports Center, at 221 E. Yakima Ave., is known, among several things, for its iconic neon duck hunter sign. The restaurant was a popular downtown Yakima spot in the 1960s and 1970s but had been closed for some time when a local ownership group reopened it in 2006.

That group sold it to Carroll and co-owner Michelle Anderson in 2012.

In recent years, the restaurant had become a popular downtown hangout, especially with the local hop and craft brewing industry. The restaurant often served as a landing spot for breweries and others in town for the hop harvest each fall.

However, the restaurant had been closed off and on for the last two years. In 2019, it closed several months for an extensive remodeling, including a refresh of the famed duck hunter sign.

Like many others, the restaurant shut down when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the region in March 2020. The restaurant briefly offered takeout for several weeks in the spring but closed in early June and did not reopen.

Carroll said the closure led to thousands of dollars lost in expired food and drink. The restaurant also still had to pay expenses, including rent and utilities.

“You can only do so much,” Carroll said. “It gets to the point where you ask yourself, ‘Will it continue to be worth it?’”

The Yakima Sports Center is the latest restaurant to close during the COVID-19 pandemic. Several restaurants and bars have closed in the last year, including Jack-son’s, Gasperetti’s and Santiago’s, all in Yakima, and Nana Kate’s in Selah.

“We’re very sorry. We know the Sports Center has been an iconic place for years — a place where people came for their hamburgers and beer,” Carroll said.

Reach Mai Hoang at maihoang@yakimaherald.com or Twitter @maiphoang

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