San Jose

New Minimum Wage Prompts Original Joe's in San Jose to Close Lunchtime Service

San Jose restaurants continue to announce major changes in response to the city's new minimum wage.

Original Joe's, which has served downtown customers for 63 years, now plans to stop serving the lunch-hour crowd because owners say they will lose money by staying open. The move comes after several other restaurants have added either a surcharge or raised prices to keep up with the new $15-an-hour minimum wage in San Jose.

"It's very difficult to stay in business Monday through Friday," said Brad Rocca, Original Joe's owner.

Rocca predicts other downtown restaurants will eventually make the same tough decision to close during lunch hours. He says downtown is now an evening and weekend attraction.

"I don't want to raise my menu. I don't want the customers to pay," Rocca said. "Something's gotta give. We decided to close for lunch and keep the restaurant healthy."

The restaurant owner said the arrival of Google will not help the lunch crowd, just like it did not help when Adobe moved into downtown.

"Very saddened," customer Chuck Longgwello said of Orignal Joe's shutting down during lunch hours. "Been coming here for over 50 years. Just a real loss."

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