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Bug-A-Boo Bay to close soon

sign at Bug-A-Boo Bay north of Alexandria announces the news of the restaurant's closing. Echo Press photo by Lowell Anderson

After nine years of business, Bug-A-Boo Bay in Alexandria is closing.

Owners Dave and Debbie Bistodeau said that the restaurant on North Nokomis will shut its doors for good on January 1, 2010.

They're closing the restaurant with a lot of good memories.

"The last nine years have been a lot of fun," Dave Bistodeau said Monday. "We thank everyone who loyally supported us."

The restaurant will be missed by many who enjoyed its tropical ambience and Caribbean-themed dishes. In fact, when some customers found out the news, it brought tears to their eyes, Bistodeau said.

The Bistodeaus said a combination of factors led to the decision - the faltering economy and changes in the food and beverage industry in the past few years, including lowering the blood-alcohol limit from 0.10 to 0.08, enacting a statewide smoking ban and never-ending increases in food and beverage costs.

Last summer's cooler-than-normal temperatures and the road construction on County Road 42 also dampened business, Bistodeau said.

"All of this combined makes it quite difficult to keep a large facility like ours rolling all winter long," he said.

Besides the many customers who enjoyed dining at Bug-A-Boo, the restaurant's closing will also impact staff. The restaurant employed more than 50 full and part-time workers during most of the year and 130 during the busy summer months.

"Thanks again to our entire staff who did such a fabulous job for us - we'll miss you and all of you that we've had the privilege to serve over the years here at Bug-A-Boo Bay," Bistodeau said. "Keep smiling."

Gift certificates will be honored at the Bistodeaus' other restaurants - D. Michael B's at the Viking Plaza in Alexandria and in Albertville.

The Bistodeaus will list the property for sale. Bistodeau said he's hopeful that a buyer will be able to purchase the business outright and turn a profit, adding that the restaurant enjoyed strong numbers during the summer months.

"We had a great run," Bistodeau summed up. "We'll just have to refocus and go forward. Life goes on."