Rascal Flatts restaurant not coming to Arboretum of South Barrington

Amid problems across the United States, popular country band Rascal Flatts won't bring a proposed namesake restaurant and bar to The Arboretum of South Barrington and is distancing itself from the developer behind the eatery.

"Rascal Flatts licensed use of their name, image and logo to the restaurant developer and had nothing to do with the construction or build out plans for these restaurants," the band said in a statement issued by Nashville public relations firm The GreenRoom. "The use of the Rascal Flatts name in association with restaurants owned by RF IP, LLC or Frank Capri is no longer authorized. The band terminated the license agreement and is no longer in business with this company or Mr. Capri."

Capri is the same businessman who led the parent company of Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill, which folded in Rosemont in 2015 while struggling financially.

Construction began in February 2018 on what was supposed to be a 12,000-square-foot Rascal Flatts Bar and Grill near Pinstripes in the upscale Arboretum shopping center at Higgins Road and Route 59. The restaurant was to have a 7,000-square-foot stage and bar area, with seating for about 450 patrons.

Arboretum officials late last year said Rascal Flatts was projected to open in June. The exterior was completed, but work on the inside halted after Arboretum parent company Starwood Retail Partners ended the deal, spokeswoman Stacy Kallas said.

She declined to specify when or why that decision was made, but expressed optimism the structure won't sit vacant.

"This spot is in a very good, well-trafficked location on the property," Kallas said, "and our leasing team is already in conversations with interested parties."

Nevada-based RF Restaurants has been hit by lawsuits over Rascal Flatts not opening as expected at the Station Square shopping and entertainment complex in Pittsburgh, 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 last year. Mall owner Rich Taubman Associates contended 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 told the South Barrington village board in early 2017 the Arboretum's Rascal Flatts would have a menu featuring Italian cuisine with Southern fusion. He also said entertainment likely would include Christian rock and country bands, but not hard rock or heavy metal.

Burka, who last week declined to comment on the Rascal Flatts venture, said in his village board presentation that no more than eight ticketed national shows would be expected annually at the family-oriented establishment.

Minutes from the February 2017 meeting show Burka informed South Barrington's elected officials that Rascal Flatts "may play for the opening and come through at times," but would not typically be at the establishment.

South Barrington building documents from 2018 obtained through a Daily Herald open records request listed Burka and RF Restaurants as the owner of the vacant Arboretum building. RF Restaurants provided a Las Vegas address to the village.

Capri was CEO of Arizona-based Boomtown Entertainment when its Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill location in Rosemont and others across the country closed due to financial problems four years ago. Capri could not be reached for comment on Rascal Flatts.

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  This 12,000-square-foot building was constructed for a Rascal Flatts Bar and Grill at The Arboretum of South Barrington, which was supposed to open in June. However, the establishment will not open and the band has distanced itself from the company in charge of the project. Bob Susnjara/
  This 12,000-square-foot building was built for a Rascal Flatts Bar and Grill at The Arboretum of South Barrington. It was supposed to open in June. However, the establishment will not open and the band has distanced itself from the company in charge of the project. Bob Susnjara/
  In November, a sign touted how Rascal Flatts Bar and Grill was expected to open this year at The Arboretum of South Barrington. Bob Susnjara/
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