Rascal Flatts venue still expected in South Barrington despite trouble elsewhere

Despite problems in other markets, popular country band Rascal Flatts' restaurant and bar is expected to open next year at The Arboretum of South Barrington.

Rascal Flatts Bar and Grill still is under construction near Pinstripes in the upscale center at Higgins Road and Route 59. South Barrington's Rascal Flatts is to have a 7,000-square-foot stage and bar area, with seating for about 450 patrons.

“Right now, the plan is they're still moving forward,” Arboretum spokeswoman Stacy Kallas said. “We haven't heard otherwise.”

South Barrington's Rascal Flatts is supposed to be one of several opening nationwide, but the concept has suffered setbacks elsewhere.

Rascal Flatts didn't debut as expected this year at the Station Square shopping and entertainment complex in Pittsburgh, said Jeff Linton, a spokesman for corporate owner Forest City Realty Trust.

Forest City accused Rascal Flatts' ownership of not paying rent and breaching its lease at Station Square, according to a lawsuit recently filed in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.

Similar lawsuits were lodged this year against Nevada-based RF Restaurants related to the country band's establishments not opening at the Hollywood and Highland Center in Los Angeles and Celebration Pointe in Gainesville, Florida.

In addition, the first Rascal Flatts, which opened in August 2017 at Stamford Town Center in Connecticut, shuttered this year. Mall owner Rich Taubman Associates claimed RF Restaurants didn't pay rent totaling $1.1 million for its 7,535-square-foot space from May 2016 through April 2018, according to a suit filed in Connecticut Superior Court.

RF Restaurants co-owner Chris Burka, who could not be reached for comment, told the South Barrington village board last year the Arboretum's Rascal Flatts would have a menu featuring Italian cuisine with Southern fusion. He said entertainment likely would include Christian rock and country bands in the 12,000-square-foot building.

Country singer Toby Keith had a branded space in the suburbs for three years. But Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill in Rosemont and most of his other locations across the country closed amid financial problems in 2015.

An East Coast-themed Hampton Social seafood restaurant is being built next door to Rascal Flatts at the Arboretum. While the construction of Rascal Flatts and Hampton Social near Pinstripes is simultaneous, the projects are not related.

Kallas said Hampton Social is on target to open by next June like Rascal Flatts. A Charles Schwab Corp. office is going up west of the restaurants.

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Despite problems in other markets, Rascal Flatts Bar and Grill is expected to open next year at The Arboretum of South Barrington, a mall spokeswoman said. This is an artist's rendering of the establishment under construction near Pinstripes. Courtesy of village of South Barrington
  Hampton Social is under construction near Pinstripes at The Arboretum of South Barrington. Hampton Social is to open in 2019. Bob Susnjara/
  Charles Schwab Corp. is building an office expected to open next year at The Arboretum of South Barrington. Bob Susnjara/
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