It can happen without warning. Your favorite restaurant closes.
The parking lot is empty, the familiar aroma is gone and there’s no sign of life around the building. A faded sign on the door reads “closed.”
You drive off.
This scenario isn’t uncommon in the metro-east, where restaurant closings can leave some customers disappointed or confused.
Still scratching your head about a recent closure? Here’s a list of the places we’ve lost since 2016 and one from 2015 because a steakhouse closing is hard to get over.
After two and a half years on West Main Street, this corner cafe recently closed. Owner and Belleville alderman Mike Buettner had closed the restaurant for renovations earlier this year. He later decided to retire. The building, located at 1926 W. Main St., is for sale.
This popular Irish pub closed in January after 40 years in Fairview Heights. Owner Mark Daniels said it was time to “start a new book.”
Listed for $1.3 million, the landmark restaurant in Fairview Heights could be demolished if the city approves plans for a MotoMart on U.S. 50.
It was hard for the public to say goodbye to fried chicken from this West Main Street institution. The Belleville landmark closed Feb. 15 after more than 80 years in the metro-east.
“We have been struggling for quite a few years,” general manager Carol Buck told the News-Democrat. “We’ve done everything we’ve could to keep it open. (In) the last 20 years there have been so many chains opening. Then 10 years ago, it (was opening) banquet centers. Then it was (opening) Frank Scott Parkway to make sure everybody goes elsewhere. ‘Obamacare’ has not helped the restaurant.”
The building remains vacant as the previous owners wait for a buyer.
Joe’s Crab Shack
Joe’s Crab Shack in Fairview Heights closed suddenly in mid-August. Employees didn’t receive much of a warning before the business closed its doors.
In an email sent to employees, the company said bankruptcy and the pending sale of Ignite Restaurant Group have resulted in the permanent closure of the Fairview Heights location.
Logan’s Roadhouse in Fairview Heights suddenly closed its doors in 2015.
The Western-style steakhouse chain had built and opened the restaurant in 2007 in an outlot of St. Clair Square mall at 51 Lincoln Highway. A statement released in 2015 by restaurant spokeswoman Susan Morgenstern did not indicate why the restaurant was suddenly shuttered.
Marco’s on Main
Marco’s on Main at 6401 W. Main St. closed last spring.
Soon after the closure, a sign on the door of Marco’s on Main encouraged customers to come next door for food and drinks at Shenanigan’s.
Tasty Chicago Grill
This restaurant at 4421 W. Main St. in Belleville went dark in 2016 after seven months in business.
The Red Onion
A handwritten note taped to the door said “closed” — and that was it. The Red Onion, a restaurant located at 923 W. Main St. in Belleville that opened in April, suddenly closed in July.
The building previously housed Flamingo’s Restaurant in 2014 and 2015, and the iconic Maxwell’s Restaurant from 1976 to 2012.
Luna Pizza Pasta Wings
This O’Fallon eatery that featured pizza, pasta, wings and a buffet closed in 2016. No signs were posted to the building’s door to indicate why the eatery was shuttered.
In 2016, less than seven months after it opened for business in O’Fallon, Fire-N-Smoke Wood-Fired Kitchen abruptly closed its doors at 1214 Central Park Plaza.
James Dooley, a kitchen manager at Fire-N-Smoke’s Troy location, said ownership worried the O’Fallon site would not remain profitable because “it was a bad area for our concept.”
Pitchers Sports Pub & Pizzeria
After almost five years in business in downtown Belleville, Pitchers Sports Pub & Pizzeria closed in 2016.
“The bar was always a side business for John and I,” owner Lloyd Cueto said. “After five years we need to focus more time on our day jobs and families.”
The bar and restaurant in New Athens announced plans to close earlier this year. The establishment offered a place to camp and a marina along the Kaskaskia River.
Applebee’s Fairview Heights
The Applebee’s restaurant at 47 Ludwig Drive in Fairview Heights closed in 2016. More closures around the country are expected later this year.
Nick & Vito’s Meat & Deli
The deli at 8201 West Main St. in Belleville closed in 2016.
When customers pulled up, the doors were locked, and signs posted in the windows read “Sorry, we’re closed.” Through a window in the front of the darkened restaurant, you could see rugs rolled up in a cart, coolers and display cases devoid of food and the kitchen dismantled.
It’s still not clear why Nick & Vito’s closed.
Junction Coffee & Frozen Yogurt
After five years in business at 200 E. Main St. in downtown Belleville, Junction Coffee & Frozen Yogurt closed in 2016. Reaction to the announcement was swift, severe and sad.