Closure of two restaurants 'disappointing' to East Dundee mayor
A longtime East Dundee cafe under new ownership ceased operations this week, just two days after the closure of a year-old restaurant nearby.
Manor Cafe & Restaurant was taken over late last year by John and Sula Vitogiannis, who purchased the 40-year-old business from founders George and Stella Koulis. The establishment at 425 E. Main St. shut its doors Monday, as was advised by the restaurant's lawyer, the Vitogiannises said in a Facebook message.
The next day, Migrate Restaurant at 311 Barrington Ave. announced on Facebook that it had closed, too -- a "difficult decision" for owners Shana and Eddie Pluviose, the post says. The establishment's last day was Dec. 21.
The departure of both restaurants was disappointing to Village President Lael Miller, who called them "very nice places." The Manor has been a staple of the community for decades, he said, and Migrate's food received rave reviews from customers.
"Both (owners) are very nice couples who put their heart and soul into their businesses," Miller said. "The restaurant business is tough. Taking a chance and starting something new like that is difficult. ... I wish them well in their future endeavors."
Manor manager and server Caitlynn Smith, who has worked there nearly 10 years, said she and her co-workers were not notified of the restaurant's closure ahead of time. Staff members had a holiday party during work Sunday, she said, and a schedule had been sent out for the following week.
On Monday morning, she said, an employee showed up to find notes on the doors saying the Manor was closed.
Smith said she noticed some signs that the business had been struggling the past few months, including delayed paychecks and low inventory. Still, she said, she was frustrated to learn she was out of a job so abruptly two days before Christmas.
"To me, it wasn't just a job," Smith said. "I made best friends there, (made) memories and built relationships with longtime customers and their families."
John and Sula Vitogiannis did not offer a reason for the closure, other than saying they were following their lawyer's advice. Final paychecks are being sent to employees' homes, they said.
Ceasing operations has been hard on Migrate staff members, too, who have been "exceptionally amazing since our inception," owners said in the Facebook post. Located in one of four tenant spaces in the 311 Barrington development, the contemporary American restaurant offered an evolving menu with flavors from various parts of the world.
"From the bottom of our hearts, we wish to thank each and every one of you for giving us the opportunity to share our dream," the Facebook post says. "We will forever cherish the memories we created."
Communicating through village officials, the Pluvioses declined to comment further. The owners say customers can receive a full refund on gift cards by emailing info@migraterestaurant through Jan. 31.
Despite the shuttering of two restaurants, Miller said he anticipates seeing increased economic activity through new businesses such as D.C. Cobb's. Well known in the area for its gourmet burgers, the restaurant's third location is slated to open early next year in the westernmost storefront of 311 Barrington.
Another business has expressed interest in leasing space on the east end of the development, which also contains Black & Gray Brewing Co.
"I'm still confident in East Dundee," Miller said. "I look forward to seeing whoever's going to come in and fill those spaces."