KEARNEY — At 8:30 tonight, the lights will go out for the last time at USA Steak Buffet at 404 Third Ave. Owner Randy Kratochvil has sold the business.

"I can’t say to whom. I was asked not to, and I will honor those wishes," he said Tuesday. "All I know is it will not be a USA Steak anymore."

Kratochvil, 62, broke the news to his 30 employees Monday.

He has worked in the restaurant since 1977 when he was hired as manager of what was then a Bonanza steakhouse. When Bonanza was sold in 1996, Kratochvil purchased the business and re-opened it as a USA Steak Buffet.

"It sounds like a chain, but that’s our own name," he said.

He said the opportunity to sell came up rather suddenly, and he took advantage of it.

"I’m retiring," he said. "I’ve been in the restaurant business for 40 years. My knees are shot. An opportunity came up, they made me an offer, and Wednesday will be our last day."

The closing is the second for a restaurant in that section of Second Avenue in two weeks. Carlos O’Kelly’s Mexican cafe at 113 Third Ave. served its last meals on Nov. 16, putting between 25 and 30 employees out of work. It closed because of poor financial performance, a corporate employee said. That building is for sale.

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