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Visa denial signals end for Plain City's Roylies Café

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PLAIN CITY, Weber County — Roylies Café felt a little empty on Monday.

The restaurant is usually closed on Mondays, but owner Suzanne Whitelock said this day feels different. She said she knew it was only a matter of time until she and her husband, both from Great Britain, heard from U.S. immigration services.

"It came through the mail," Whitelock said. "The update is we received a denial on our appeal, so we were told we have to leave."

The Whitelocks came to America through an E-2 visa. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, those coming into the U.S. through this visa must open a business venture and demonstrate that “the capital you are investing is substantial.” That is one of five major requirements of the visa.

"It's just utter devastation when you read the words, and then read a little deeper and find the reason behind (the) denial," Whitelock said. "Ultimately, they said I wasn't at an appointment. And I can't prove I was there."

Even if she can prove it, it doesn't matter now. "As far as Roylies is concerned, it's over," she said. "We can't continue the business."

KSL first visited Roylies in April when hopes remained high.

"We hoped and prayed it wouldn't end this way, but I guess, in the back of your mind, it's always there as a 'what if?'" Whitelock said.

The restaurant is now up for sale, and Whitelock hopes someone will step up and buy the place.

"We're hoping that it won't go back to what it was: just an empty building," she said. "This place really stole our hearts, and we stole the hearts of the community."

If no one buys Roylies, the last day of business will be Saturday, July 22. That's something Whitelock said she finds irony in: It's just two days before Pioneer Day.


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Ashley Kewish


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