Family-owned restaurant abruptly closes, reason unknown


by Renee Murphy

Posted on February 1, 2013 at 6:12 PM

Updated Saturday, Feb 2 at 11:52 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- A popular local restaurant is gone after almost three decades of business. Employees and patrons were shocked when they heard the news.

A sign at John E's restaurant Friday simply said, "GONE OUT OF BUSINESS." That's it.

Employees told WHAS11 by phone they got a call around 5:30 Friday morning from the owner telling them the restaurant was closing.

“He told me they were closing the restaurant due to complications. It surprised me so much. I didn't really get to ask him nothing and then that’s all he said when he got off the phone have us in your prayers,” said a 16-year employee of John E’s.

The employee we talked to did not want to be identified.

“We were supposed to get paid Tuesday coming up and today [Friday] is the first and that was supposed to be my rent check. So, that really hurts me right there,” an employee said.

Barb Polk sang every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night at John E's for 16 years. In fact she performed Thursday night and had a sold out show set for Friday.

“It’s just terribly sad. It’s not a chain restaurant. It’s a family restaurant. It’s a place with tradition and heritage and ghosts, we have ghosts that live there,” said Polk.

Customers are just as shocked as the employees.

“No someone told me down the street they had closed and I was really surprised,” Gilbert Duncan, a long time customer said.

We tried calling the owner to find out what happened, he has not yet returned our phone calls.