After serving upscale Mediterranean cuisine for 13 years in Arlington Heights, Yanni's Greek restaurant shut its doors on Sunday.
Village officials say the restaurant, located at the corner of East Algonquin and Arlington Heights roads, was unable to weather the storm of a downturned economy long enough to experience the recent upswing in area restaurant business.
Yanni's underwent a total renovation before opening in 1999, replacing the former Rusty Pelican seafood restaurant. The restaurant's ownership switched hands more than once during its tenure.
New ownership took over the restaurant during late 2000s as the economy was at a high point, but the roughly 10,000-square-foot facility was difficult to keep full during the recession.
"The owners reportedly purchased the facility during the boom years, and their overhead costs were fairly significant," said Arlington Heights Business and Development Coordinator John Melaniphy.
Arlington Heights restaurants generated about $157 million in sales in 2008, which was the largest sum since 1995, according to Melaniphy, but the next two years were rough on many businesses.
"Some operators could not hang on based upon the poor sales productivity that occurred in 2009 and 2010, and they just were unable to recover," Melaniphy said.
The village hit its low point in 2009, along with the majority of the country, when total retail sales dropped to $977 million, according to Melaniphy. By 2011, total sales bounced back to $1.045 billion.
"We had declining hotel occupancy rates throughout the region and declining office occupancy rates, which reduce the daytime working population," Melaniphy said. "Obviously, a lot of blood sweat and tears went into the operation; we've known for some time that there were some challenges."
Of the approximately 200 restaurants in Arlington Heights, the losses of Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen in 2011 and now Yanni's were two of the largest closings. Pappadeaux's 26,000-square-foot space, the largest in Arlington Heights, was remodeled and reopened by Cooper's Hawk Winery and Restaurant in late November.
"Cooper's Hawk was our largest success story," Melaniphy said. "We feel that we've been very successful in our business attraction efforts.
Village officials said there are "serious discussions" with new restaurant operations that could soon fill the voids left by Max and Erma's, 306 E. Rand Road, and Boston Blackie's, 222 E. Algonquin Road.