HAYS — The owners of Gutch’s Bar & Grill in downtown Hays announced this week it expects to close sometime this year.


According to a post Tuesday on the restaurant’s Facebook page, Gutch’s Bar & Grill owners Ken and Diane Gottschalk hope to remain open until the end of 2020 — "but due to COVID-19 that is uncertain," the post read.


"To our valued patrons — THANK YOU for all your support the past 16 years!!" the Gottschalks wrote. "As 2020 draws to a close, so will Gutch's."


They encouraged all customers with outstanding gift cards to use those certificates soon, as they will expire when the restaurant shutters its doors. Gift cards and certificates will be accepted through closing day on dine-in and carryout orders.


The announcement on Gutch’s Facebook page had garnered dozens of comments and nearly 200 shares by late Wednesday morning, as loyal patrons offered their condolences and reminisced about past experiences at the local eatery.


"Sad to see a staple of the community close its doors," one customer wrote in the comments.


"For the past 16 years, this restaurant has been one of my go-to places for meetings, celebrations, cozy atmosphere and great food," another wrote. "Thanks for the many memories."


Others vowed to visit Gutch’s "one last time" to get their pizza fix before the restaurant closes.


Gutch’s, at 111 W. 7th St., is known for its wood-fired pizzas and homemade dough. The restaurant opened its doors in January 2004 and has remained a family-owned business since.