Schaumburg's John Barleycorn restaurant is ceasing its day-to-day operations, but will remain open exclusively as a venue for private parties and special events, its owner announced Tuesday.
The changes, which went into effect immediately, are the result of the uncertain and sluggish economic recovery and the high unemployment rate in Illinois, according to a statement from John Barleycorn owner Sam Sanchez. Both factors have forced many families to cut their entertainment budgets and dine out less, he states.
"The worst part about discontinuing day-to-day operations is having to lay off over 150 full and part-time employees, especially in this economy," the statement reads. "There are many employees that have been with me since the restaurant opened in 2008 and they are like family."
The restaurant will retain some current employees to staff the hundreds of events contracted as far out as 2014 at the 22,000-square-foot venue, located at 1100 American Lane.
Sanchez also owns three John Barleycorn locations and two Moe's Cantina locations in Chicago.
According to Sanchez's statement, he has put the Schaumburg location on the market, listing it with Sierra U.S. Commercial Real Estate.
Schaumburg Economic Development Manager Matt Frank said John Barleycorn is one of the largest restaurants in the village, both in terms of square footage and business. If the restaurant shuts down completely the space would be difficult to fill, because of its size and unique layout, Frank said. He hopes, instead, it will continue to stay afloat.
"It's a business decision. They have to do what's best for their business," Frank said of the change. "John Barleycorn has always been a good partner to the community and we hope they can maintain that."
While it is disappointing to see the business shrink, Frank said it won't sharply impact the village's economy.
"We have over 200 restaurants in town, so it's a very diverse economy," he said. "We hate to see a business minimizing some of its operations, but we've got a lot of quality developments out there."