Romano’s Macaroni Grill closes near Madison Square property — so how are other nearby businesses faring?

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Another popular eatery is closing its doors for good in Huntsville.  WHNT News 19 learned Romano's Macaroni Grill next to the old Madison Square Mall property closed suddenly on Tuesday.

"We saw it coming a little bit, but we didn't know it was to this extent," said Chibuike Anyatonwu, a server at the restaurant.

Anyatonwu says the decision came from corporate due to lagging business.

"Especially with the mall closing it played a big factor into it, but overall I think it was just you know as far as how everything was going around the area, money, everything, it just played a big role," said Anyatonwu.

He worked there for a little over a year, and says he thinks people will definitely miss it.

"Regulars would come from out of state, out of the Huntsville area just to come down here to eat because they knew their favorite food was here," he said.

Anyatonwu says employees were only informed of the closing late last night. They were given severance packages, and the company is said to be helping with finding new jobs.

"They're trying to make this transition as smooth as possible, especially for those that treat this job like a full time job," he said.

Anyatonwu says deciding to completely close really caught everyone off guard.

"I wish they would've given us a little more of a notice, but you know, it's business and that's how things go," he added.

Anyatonwu says they're moving everything inside the restaurant to the Birmingham location. There are no plans to re-open here.

How are other nearby businesses doing?

With Madison Square Mall closed and demolition well underway, plus the closing of Romano's Macaroni Grill, there are a lot of questions about what will happen to other businesses in the area.

WHNT News 19 visited Madison Square 12 movie theater on Tuesday to check in. Theater staff said business is good.

"The City of Huntsville and Shane Davis has made sure that it doesn't really affect us. Business is still booming, we're staying open, so we're doing great," said Golden Harshaw, the theater's assistant manager.

Harshaw says the city has been great to work with during these first stages of the new MidCity development.

"They've made sure that you know there's lights so people can come around and find us, you know they gave us some parking spots in the front so we could still have some space," said Harshaw.

She says they've talked it over with the city, and they don't plan on going anywhere.

"We're staying, they want us to be a part of the new development for MidCity Huntsville, all the ideas that they have going on."

They stay busy, but Harshaw hopes the new development will bring a renewed awareness back to the theater.

"A lot of people forgot about us because we're back here and they don't go to the mall anymore, so this new development would definitely help out a lot," said Harshaw.

Harshaw says they will also probably be expanding at some point in the future, to accommodate everyone who will be coming with the new development.

The manager of the Steak N' Shake near Madison Square Mall also reached out to WHNT News 19 to make sure customers knew the restaurant is still open.