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Longtime Lincoln buffet closing for good
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Longtime Lincoln buffet closing for good

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Valentino's - October

Valentino's announced Tuesday that its Grand Italian Buffet at 70th and Van Dorn streets will permanently close.

The coronavirus pandemic and ongoing labor shortages have claimed another Lincoln restaurant.

Valentino’s announced Tuesday that its Grand Italian Buffet location at 70th and Van Dorn streets, which has been closed for a year, will not reopen.

The company said in a news release that it “regretfully decided to permanently close” the buffet and dining area at the 70th and Van Dorn location in Lincoln. It blamed labor shortages and effects from COVID-19.

Originally opened as a Valentino’s Ristorante in October 1974, the location began to offer the buffet in the late 1970s and remodeled to the Grand Italian Buffet in the summer of 2002.

“We are grateful to our loyal customers over the years,” said Tony Messineo, Valentino’s president. “This Valentino’s buffet was a big part of many family traditions, including our family as well.”

Valentino's said it will continue to operate its carry out and delivery location, which is at the same site but in a different building.

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Valentino's also operated a buffet for years out of its original location near East Campus, but that building was torn down in 2014 and was replaced by a sit-down restaurant, which currently has its dining room open.

The only other Valentino's sit-down restaurant in Lincoln, at SouthPointe Pavilions, is closed temporarily due to staffing issues but should reopen, officials said.

Valentino’s joins a long list of restaurants that have closed temporarily or permanently due to the effects of COVID-19 and/or labor shortages.

Taco John’s closed its location at 4700 Vine St. temporarily this week, with signs outside indicating it was closing because of a lack of workers.

GroundUp Restaurants announced last month that it closed its tapas restaurant, Sebastian's Table, because of reduced business due to the pandemic. It plans to open a pizza restaurant in its place.

Many local restaurants also have reduced hours or kept their dining rooms closed.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.


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Business reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

Related to this story

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The owner of Pepe's Bistro said the restaurant won't have a dining room anymore so that he has more time to spend with his 85-year-old mother. There will still be grab-and-go items, hot soup and a hot burrito of the day.

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