Famous Dave’s close-ups in Bloomington | local business

BLOOMINGTON — Famous Dave’s closed its doors for the final time Tuesday after 22 years of serving the community at its Morrissey Drive location.

“We enjoyed being a part of Bloomington for 22 years,” said Ron Helms, vice president of operations for Mercedes Restaurants, Inc., which ran the barbecue franchise.

The restaurant had 18 employees at the time of its closure, and a “now hiring” sign was still hanging outside Wednesday morning. Helms said the location had not been profitable for some time.

Famous Dave’s in Bloomington had not been profitable in some time, said Ron Helms, vice president of operations at Mercedes Restaurants, Inc.

D. Jack Alkire

“It’s just a sign of the times,” said Helms, who has been part of the restaurant industry for over 40 years.

Largely because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said, the restaurant had to change service from dine-in to delivery only, and then to evening delivery only.

“It just wasn’t enough to pay all of our bills on a consistent basis,” Helms said.

Famous Dave's

Famous Dave’s had switched services from dine-in to delivery and, eventually, evening delivery only.

D. Jack Alkire

The restaurant’s workers did not get advance notice of the closing, Helms said. However, he said he was attempting to transfer some employees to Alexander’s Steakhouse, which is also owned by Mercedes Restaurants, Inc.

As the Normal steakhouse enters its busier season later in the year, he said, it will need more help. “The first people that we’ll call are the people affected by our closure,” he said.

The restaurant’s lease is up at the end of the year, and Helms said the company had been required to give its landlord six-month notice.

As for the food and drink left over, Helms said “we’re in the process of transferring what we have in Bloomington to our store in Peoria.”

Famous Dave's

Famous Dave’s is shown at 1603 Morrissey Drive, Bloomington.

D. Jack Alkire

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