These 10 Galesburg restaurants have closed for good since the pandemic

Samuel Lisec
Galesburg Register-Mail

GALESBURG — Ever since the pandemic struck in 2020, restaurants in Galesburg have grappled with crowd regulations, increased costs and staff shortages on top of the usual business pressures.

Here is a catalogue of which establishments decided to close their kitchens for good.

Note, some places may be missing from this list as the Galesburg Chamber of Commerce and the Knox County Area Partnership for Economic Development do not keep a record of the restaurants or bars that open and close each year.

More:‘Nothing is changing:' Bankruptcies won't impact Galesburg Happy Joe's, manager says

Prairie St. Pasta, 51 N. Prairie St.

Prairie Street Pasta is located at 51 N. Prairie Street.
  • Owners: Daniel and Renae Earnhart
  • Served: Drinks, sandwiches and various pasta dishes from spaghetti and meatballs to mostaccioli and toasted ravioli
  • Opened: 2021
  • Plans to close: Sept. 30, 2022
  • Reason for closing: The couple cited a combination of rising costs, a lack of passion and the demands of raising a family

Whiskey Barrel, 325 E. Main St.

The Whiskey Barrel, 325 E. Main St., in Galesburg.
  • Owners: Dustin Carley and his mother, Linda Carley
  • Served: Drinks, giant soft pretzels, fried green tomatoes, fried mozzarella corn fritters, "family style meals," like country-fried steak and mashed potatoes, a variety of other bar food.
  • Opened: 2019
  • Closed: July 2022
  • Reason for closing: Owners said on social media the restaurant was “no exception” to the challenges of  rising costs and labor shortages.

More:Steak 'N Shake turmoil: Galesburg restaurant's finances, link to violence investigated

Sully’s Pub, 1075 N. Henderson St.

Sully’s Pub server Suzanne McEllen delivers orders of corned beef and cabbage to a waiting table on St. Patrick’s Day, Wednesday, March 17, 2021.
  • Owners: Brothers Matt and Brad Bernardi. The two also own the Sidetrax Bar & Grill, The Trax Northside Grill in Monmouth and the soon to be reopened Seminary Street Pub.
  • Served: Giant breaded tenderloin sandwiches, wings, horseshoe sandwiches and a variety of other bar food.
  • Opened: 2004
  • Closed: June 2022
  • Reason for closing: Owner Matt Bernardi said the building Sully’s Pub was leased in had “major repair issues” that the brothers did not want to incur. Bernardi said the two also wanted to expand in a different direction.

Papa Johns, 1348 N. Henderson St.

National pizza chain Papa Johnson located at 1348 N. Henderson in Galesburg is permanently closed, according to a manager at the Papa John's in Canton.
  • Owner: Derek Holloway, owner of the Papa Johns in Canton. 
  • Served: Carry-out pizza, as part of a national chain with more than 5,000 locations 
  • Opened: 2019
  • Closed: April 2022
  • Reason for closing: The former owner of the local franchise could not be reached for comment in time for this article.

More:‘What I’ve always wanted to do:’ Former Fat Fish Pub to be Opie's Bar & Grill in Galesburg

Knox County Brewing Company, 2900 W. Main St.

Matthew Hansen, co-owner of Knox County Brewing.
  • Owners: Mathew and Sarah Hansen
  • Served: Craft beer, kombucha and soda brewed on site, as well as food like sandwiches, tacos and bratwursts — all with an emphasis on community and charity.
  • Opened: 2018
  • Closed: January 2022
  • Reason for closing: Mathew Hansen said the pandemic slowed the taproom’s number of customers, but the main reason for closing was the couple was unable to obtain a new location downtown for the business.

Rib Shack, 2203 U.S. 150

Rib Shack, located at 2203 U.S. 150 north of Galesburg, is pictured in this file photo as the barbecue restaurant prepared to open in August 2019. Rib Shack closed for business on June 4, 2021.
  • Owner: John Shaner
  • Served: Barbeque wings, sliders, fish fillets and coleslaw and beans. The business was the continuation of the Rib Shack that first opened on Henderson street by a different owner in 1952.
  • Opened: 2019
  • Closed: June 2021
  • Reason for closing: Financial issues as well as internal employee issues. Shaner said the restaurant got busier once restrictions for indoor dining lifted, but “the staff could not maintain the necessary work.”

Charred 51 Artisan Bar & Bistro, 51 N. Prairie St.

Charred 51 Artisan Bar & Bistro plans to change its current seating arrangement in preparation for Phase 4 of the COVID-19 regulations in Illinois.
  • Owner: Elyse Quarterman
  • Served: Drinks, prime ribs, burgers, quinoa bowls, club sandwiches, and brunch in the restaurant location that was afterwards occupied by Prairie St. Pasta.
  • Opened: 2018
  • Closed: November 2020
  • Reason for closing: The owner said in a 2020 social media post that the the building had been purchased by the Prairie St. Pasta family. Quarterman said the purchase was "not planned" but she believed it was the best business decision "on what could be a very grim horizon."

Fat Fish Pub, 158 N. Broad St.

Fat Fish Pub, 158 N. Broad St.
  • Owner: Neal Minella
  • Served: Drinks, frequent live music and barbeque provided by Smokin’ Willies BBQ.
  • Opened: 2016
  • Closed: August 2020
  • Reason for closing: Owner cited the inability to host large crowds for musical acts due to state-mandated regulations for COVID-19

GloBar Juice & Smoothie, 337 E. Main St.

FILE: GloBar Juice & Smoothie co-owner Angelica Mangieri works at a table as East Main Street is reflected in the window. [STEVE DAVIS/The Register-Mail]
  • Owners: Siblings Angelica Mangieri and Dakota Smith
  • Served: Smoothies, juices and sandwiches and free hot meals during the pandemic.
  • Opened: GloBar was first opened in 2015 by Megan and Casey Robbins. Mangieri and Smith took over the restaurant in 2018.
  • Closed: April 2020
  • Reason for closing: Mangieri said in 2020 that after the shelter-in-place orders were extended, the restaurant was only making $40 a day.

Lava Italian Restaurant, 576 N. Henderson

Lava Italian Restaurant will open in the location of the former Acapulco Mexican Restaurant on North Henderson Street.
  • Owners: Brothers Antonio and Vito Elecci, who also own the Venezia Italian Bistro Inc. in Pekin.
  • Served: Homemade seafood, bread, pasta, pizza, soups and desserts
  • Date opened: 2020
  • Date closed and reason for closing: The owners could not be reached for comment in time for this article.