The front door was locked, chairs were balanced atop tables and half a dozen employees quietly completed after-hours tasks for the last time.
Late Saturday afternoon, Yesteryears Restaurant itself became history.
Except for the muffled sounds of final clean-up duties and a television hanging over the small bar, theatmosphere at 129 W. Market St. was still and subdued.
No sign announcing a closing day was visible, and employees who answered raps at the front entrance refused to comment.
They said owner Pam Frisch was out of town, and relayed her message declining an earlier request to discuss the closing.
The restaurant served its last meal almost one year to the day after Frisch predicted the eatery would "boom."
The Sandusky resident had great expectations for Yesteryears when the restaurant opened Sept. 6, 2007.
She told the Register with the addition of the Chesapeake condominiums and the marina district project the downtown area "will be the place to be."
The historic-themed restaurant served American cuisine and featured old photos and a patterned ceiling nearly identical to the original ceiling.
Frisch was renovating the upper floors of the building into acondominium and tried to sell her Perkins Township home in anunsuccessful essay contest.
Yesteryears won a Funcoast Readers Choice award for offering excellent perch.
The downtown area, which has seven restaurants, also lost Markley's Restaurant in the past year.
Always having a steady lunch crowd, the only sign of trouble at the restaurant were the liens on the property filed at the Erie County Recorder's office by contractors seeking payment for work they'd done.
Chamber of Commerce director John Moldovan was surprised to learn the restaurant had closed.
"I was not aware," he said Monday evening. "It's disappointing because I thought it was an interesting place.
He declined further comment.