PALO ALTO, Calif. (KRON) – A restaurant owner in Palo Alto is facing eviction after being one day late on rent.

Mike’s Diner Bar has been in Palo Alto for nearly 30 years. After undergoing a $2 million renovation, it could soon be closing after the owner paid the $22,000 rent payment one day late in July.

“I paid the rent one day late because my daughter is disabled, was in the emergency room at El Camino Hospital and I had to get her admitted,” explained Mike Wallau, the owner of the restaurant. 

Ventana Property Services sent him this letter and filed for eviction in Santa Clara.

“So my lawyer’s trying to work with them and mediate and also is filing a motion to set aside the eviction,” Wallau said. 

Wallau says a year ago he signed a stipulation saying he won’t be late on rent. He was late during COVID-19, which hit the business hard. 

“You sit up at three in the morning staring at the ceiling, going, ‘How do I make this work?’ I mean, I have such a big investment into it. I can’t just walk away. But to be honest with you, just trying to get reopened and busy enough to pay all the bills has been extremely challenging,” he said. 

Wallau is gathering community support. A petition has been signed with 900 signatures, and he’s planning to go to the city council next Monday.

“The most that the council can do is really help rally the community and try to convince the landlords to have dialogue and look at solving the problem,” said Palo Alto City Councilmember Pat Burt. “Because this Mike’s cafe is an institution in midtown here. It’s valued by the entire neighborhood.”

Wallau is planning to fight to keep his restaurant open.