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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – COVID-19 has claimed another beloved Sacramento restaurant, one that has been crucial in helping the Sacramento Children’s Home for nearly half a century.

For 46 years, Casa Garden on 2760 Sutterville Road has been the site of many festive gatherings, smiles and great food. But the restaurant sat empty Wednesday and has been since March 2020 due to COVID-19.

With rising state fees and a steady decline of volunteers, Casa Garden went into the same turbulent waters many restaurants are facing. 

“Mostly being run by volunteers, I think overtime, that became a bit of a challenge but certainly the strain of the pandemic has hit them pretty hard,” said Dr. David Baker, president and CEO of the Sacramento Children’s Home.

On Monday, board members with the Los Niños Service League announced the restaurant’s permanent closure, ending its nearly five-decade run of raising more than $3 million for the Sacramento Children’s Home.

“That pretty much was my go-to spot to meet with folks that wanted to learn about the children’s home,” Baker told FOX40 

Baker said Casa Garden brought funds and awareness to their cause of supporting children and at-risk youth for years, and the biggest advocates were those who donated their time.

“You know every time you would go there you could have a really good conversation with the volunteers,” Baker recalled. “Some of them that had volunteer had little badges with things that showed how many hours they had dedicated, and it was pretty impressive.” 

People like Carol Williams, who has been a Casa Garden volunteer since its start in 1974, told FOX40 she knew the bad news would come eventually, but she’s still holding onto the good times.

“My fondest memories are our wonderful customers who were so loyal to us and all of the great volunteers that gave many, many, many hours,” Williams said. “It’s an end of a terrific era where they were doing a lot to support us, and they’ll really be missed.” 

While there are no plans on what will replace the venue and garden area, the memories of Casa Garden will remain for a long time.

“We really appreciated our wonderful customers and I just hope that they’ll remember us,” Williams said. 

Available online is a cookbook filled with hundreds of recipes Casa Garden used while serving the public. Proceeds from the books sold go back into helping the nonprofit.

To donate to the Sacramento Children’s Home, click or tap here.