By Melissa Garcia

LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – An iconic restaurant in Lakewood permanently closed its doors on Sunday. After 45 years in business, White Fence Farm shut down, an owner citing months of financial loss.

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On its last day open, hundreds of customers showed up to eat one more time at the home-style eatery, located on Jewell Avenue west of Sheridan Boulevard. Some waited hours to sit down at a table for a final meal full of memories.

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“I remember the laughter,” said Dr. Talia McCray, a customer who looks back fondly on her sister’s wedding reception at the restaurant.

“We’ve been coming since ’74,” said Susan Wilson, a long time White Fence Farm customer.

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Wilson flew in to Denver two days early from California just in time to enjoy one last chicken dinner with her daughter and grandchildren.

“I said, ‘I have to make sure that my trip is planned so that we can come here at least one more time,’” Wilson told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia.

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The family’s history at White Fence Farm extends for four generations.

“We made sure today to get a picture in the gazebo, because we have one at home with the two of us on Mother’s Day from about 20 years ago,” Wilson’s daughter said.

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“I have lots of memories here,” said Jesse Marzetta, who visited the restaurant often as a child.

So did his wife, Katrina, “With my family, every birthday we came here.”

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They continued the tradition with their daughter Avalyn, 7.

“I will miss the good food and playing on the playground,” Avalyn said.

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The playground and the petting zoo kept the Marzetta family busy for the three hours they waited to dine in on closing day.

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“It’s really a sad loss that it won’t be here anymore,” Katrina added.

On weekends, operating the restaurant required more than 100 employees. An owner said that as the city has grown and the labor market has tightened, keeping staff at the restaurant became a challenge.

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Melissa Garcia has been reporting for CBS4 News since March 2014. Find her bio here, follow her on Twitter @MelissaGarciaTV, or send your story idea to mkgarcia@cbs.com.

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