In a public letter to Moab posted on his Facebook profile, Tim Buckingham, chef and owner of the Atomic Grill and Lounge on North Main Street, said that his restaurant would not be reopening.
“This is the most difficult decision I have ever made, but also the most rational,” Buckingham said.
Buckingham first opened a restaurant in Moab in 1991; the Center Café, an upscale joint plopped in the middle of a Moab that was economically recovering from a mining tradition. In 1996, he would move on to establish Buck’s Grill House at the location where, until recently, Atomic operated. Buckingham renovated the place in 2015 to yield the latest iteration of the restaurant.
“I feel proud of what I’ve accomplished in the 29 years since I first opened the Center Café in ‘91, Bucks in ‘96, and the Atomic in 2015,” Buckingham said. “It’s had its ups and downs, but it’s been a good run.”
Buckingham struck a reflective and grateful tone in his letter. Below is the rest of what he shared in the May 8 post:
“I could not have accomplished any of it without the great employees whom I was lucky to have known over the years, including the most recent at the Atomic. I never wanted to be a restaurant owner but have grown to love it, mainly because of the great people who have worked for me, and who became part of my family. That is the thing I will miss the most.
“I will also miss our faithful customers, who appreciated the food and understood what it took to produce it. I very much appreciate your support over the years. A special thanks as well to the awesome musicians who have played in the lounge and brought good music along to go with the good company and food.
“Moab has always been my hometown and will always be. Like many others during this time, I don’t know what the future will bring. I wish everyone good luck and well-being.”