Facing financial hardship amid COVID-19 crisis, West Dundee sports bar preparing to close for good

  • The Chubby Bullfrog Bar & Grill in West Dundee announced Wednesday it will close this summer.

      The Chubby Bullfrog Bar & Grill in West Dundee announced Wednesday it will close this summer. Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 5/21/2020 6:24 AM

The Chubby Bullfrog in West Dundee will shut down for good this summer, its owner announced Wednesday, saying his business will be unable to recover from the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis.

During the stay-at-home order the past two months, the sports bar at 1494 Spring Hill Mall has generated 15% of its normal revenue through curbside pickup and delivery options, owner Mike Morrison said in a Facebook post. And with social distancing restrictions, he said, the significant decline in revenue is expected to continue even after establishments can begin offering dine-in services again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"The uncertain end of the lockdown measures, and the limitations put on bars and restaurants to allow half or less of former occupancy, will keep us well short of the mark to meet the level of sales we would need to keep going," Morrison said.

The Chubby Bullfrog received a paycheck protection program loan, but that money "will not be enough to sustain us long term," he added. "That clock is already ticking."

The sports bar and grill has built up a large following of local customers since it opened in 2012 in a strip mall along Huntley Road. It moved about five years later to a larger restaurant space within Spring Hill Mall and has remained successful, Morrison said.

Though they hoped to continue operating when the pandemic hit and "come out of this on top," Morrison said, he and his wife, Meagan, crunched the numbers and realized the reality of their situation. The Chubby Bullfrog team held an all-staff meeting Tuesday night, where he announced the restaurant was preparing to close this summer.

"We are truly brokenhearted to be facing down the inevitable truth," he said. "Unless you have a whole lot of money in the bank, your time is running out."

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