Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill in Rosemont, Illinois, had until Oct. 31 before it needed to close its doors for good, according to the village's mayor, but it appears the restaurant shut down early after management accused workers of stealing memorabilia and liquor from the venue.
The restaurant's general manager, Larry Vanni, told the Daily Herald that once reports came out that the venue would soon close he had a meeting with his staff, asking them to remain professional. But, he said, "some of them took it to the extreme" and "a few bad eggs ruined it for everybody."
Up to 50 staff members will lose their jobs with the closing of the once popular restaurant, but Vanni reportedly claimed about six or seven workers stole items from the bar Wednesday night, including autographed Toby Keith memorabilia and raided the bar's alcohol supply.
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Vanni told the publication the only reason the venue decided to close was because management "couldn't trust staff to show up and do their jobs professionally."
Village of Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens noted, however, that the doors were locked at the restaurant Thursday and the restaurant was not open during the afternoon.
Village officials said Wednesday they plan to replace Toby Keith’s with a project from Joe’s Bar on Weed Street and Lettuce Entertain You’s Bub City, the Daily Herald reported.
The joint venture between Joe’s Bar and Bub City, both of which are country-themed bars and restaurants in Chicago, could open in the spring.
The village board on Wednesday approved a lease with Rosemont Ventures LLC, the Bub City and Joe’s Bar project, according to the publication.
An eviction hearing for Toby Keith's was scheduled for Thursday.
Reports that Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill could be forced out of Rosemont first surfaced in August after an eviction suit was filed from the village of Rosemont, saying the restaurant owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes and rent.
General manager Larry Vanni responded to the suit and the reports shortly after, saying everything the bar and restaurant owed was paid and the company wanted to stay in Rosemont.
Vanni later told the Daily Herald, a check he received from the company’s corporate offices came from a closed account and Boomtown Entertainment CEO Frank Capri said Wednesday he plans to seek new legal counsel to explore the company’s options in Rosemont.
Boomtown Entertainment did not immediately respond to NBC Chicago’s request for comment.