WHEELING - Hoss's Steak and Sea House in Elm Grove officially shut its doors Thursday after rumors of a suspected closing left the business without enough staff to properly serve customers, management said.
Employees had been hearing for about a month that MedExpress was planning to purchase the Hoss's building and place a clinic there, said Jim Sebek, general manager at Hoss's. The workers started to seek new jobs and quit Hoss's restaurant, he added.
Sebek confirmed MedExpress is seeking to purchase the property but said no final sale has been approved.
Photo by Joselyn King
A sign outside Hoss’s Steak and Sea House in Elm Grove invites patrons to the restaurant for Father’s Day dinner Sunday. On Thursday, however, managers informed the remaining employees the restaurant was closing.
"We're not in a position to comment, but should there be any news about our presence in Wheeling we will reach out," said Tara Mulloy, spokeswoman for MedExpress.
The building at the Elm Grove Crossing Mall is owned by the Hoss's Steak and Sea House corporation.
Sebek said he had just 28 employees to call out to staff the restaurant Thursday morning, noting at least 40 are needed to operate the business throughout the week.
"MedExpress was interested in purchasing the property, but the talks were supposed to be private," Sebek said. "Rumors got into the community and to the employees. We started losing people, and we couldn't staff adequately to provide service. We lost guests, too. ... A lot of those people (employees) were only here one day a week, and we have to be ready seven days a week."
Sebek was asked whether the restaurant could reopen if the property sale falls through.
"No," he responded.
Katelynn Kestner of Wheeling worked at Hoss's for three years and said she learned from corporate manager Ann McKay on Thursday morning that the restaurant was closing.
"She told me that she was sorry but we had to close," Kestner said. "She said it was due to we wouldn't have enough employees.
"We had been hearing that MedExpress was shutting us down, and that they did have an offer for the building," she added. "Everyone was quitting, but there was no definite answer."
Kestner said management assured employees in December the restaurant "wouldn't close because it did too much business."