ROCKLAND — Café Miranda, which has been a destination for diners for nearly 30 years, will be closing later this month.

The restaurant announced the closure on its Facebook page Tuesday afternoon, June 14.

Owner and chef Kerry Altiero opened the restaurant at 15 Oak St. in the former Owls Benevolent & Fraternal Club building. He said in a 2011 interview on YouTube it was appropriate to occupy a former gambling place since it was a gamble to open a restaurant at a time when Rockland’s downtown had many places that were boarded up.

He said in that interview he had been looking for a year-round community where he could offer food that was hand-made, passionately produced, with a huge menu. Altiero supplied the restaurant with locally-grown food from Headacre Farm in Owls Head.

“Cafe Miranda has rocked the Midcoast with passion, innovation, and integrity for over 29 years. We are closing the restaurant on June 25th,” the announcement on Facebook stated.

“What we have is a great crew, a great place, the best customers in the best town, but what we don’t have is enough employees to be open more than three days a week.”

“The future is in process. Stay tuned. Visit us over the next two weeks. We want to hear from you. We know that Miranda means a lot to this community. You have meant the world to us.”

“Failing some miraculous turn of events, it is time for us to pass the torch. It is time for someone else to own this magical location and spirit on Oak Street. The flame is still burning in the oven and in our hearts, and will continue to burn for the thousands whose lives Cafe Miranda has touched and transformed. Thank you,” the Facebook statement concluded.

In January 2022, he thanked the City Council for allowing him to serve customers on public space outside the restaurant. He said the approval saved many jobs. The city allowed restaurants to use public spaces the past two years at no cost because of the strain the pandemic placed on businesses.

Altiero said Tuesday after his posting the hospitality industry has been facing a labor shortage for the past several years.

“It had been endemic, particularly in the hospitality industry and now it’s acute. Now it’s endemic everywhere,” he said.

He said he is not the first restaurant to close and expects he will not be the last.

The restaurant reduced to three days a week (Thursday through Saturday) but Altiero said three days a week is not enough to pay the fixed expenses.

Altiero said he does not have the answer to the labor shortage but society needs to try to figure it out.

He said he does not expect the miracle to happen but said if two cooks who could do the job parachuted into his restaurant, he would make a try at staying open. He is also open to selling it to people who could try to make a go of it.

“It has such a special spirit,” Altiero said.

City officials warned for years the lack of affordable housing would result in a more acute shortage of workers. The pandemic has amplified the affordable housing shortage and, in turn, a worker shortage. A candidate for Rockland police chief turned down the offer earlier this year, citing the cost of housing.

Cafe Miranda owner and chef Kerry Altiero at a January 2022 Zoom meeting of the Rockland City Council.