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Reader: Corporate Greed Ruined Some Great Local Restaurants

Reader: Corporate Greed Ruined Some Great Local Restaurants
Old Chicago

Even before the spread of coronavirus across the country, Craftworks was in trouble: The parent company of Old Chicago, Rock Bottom, the ChopHouse, Gordon Biersch and several other restaurant chains across the country had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on March 3.

It began shuttering some of its more than 300 restaurants immediately, including the Old Chicago in Longmont and the Rock Bottom in Westminster. It closed the rest on March 18, rather than keeping them open for takeout orders or delivery.

And on March 31, Craftworks laid off its entire workforce, letting all 18,000 employees know that they were out of a job — and without health benefits — effective immediately. "Please know that we continue to work diligently towards a reopening date and are looking forward to the day when we hope to bring many of you back with a new suite of benefits," said CEO Marc Buehler in his letter. "Thank you for your understanding and please be well. See you in a restaurant soon!"

But maybe not one of his, judging by this response from Michael: 

So sad. These were great local restaurants before they sold out to corporate greed. The corporation ruined them.

Replies Joe: 

With this, Rock Bottom has really hit rock bottom.

Adds Vernon: 

Total dick move to wait until the day before ending coverage for loyal employees. At least be transparent and give employees some heads up to plan. I will never go to any venture they are involved in if they come back.

Says Colton:

 Not earth-shattering news given that bankruptcy announcement and the current status of the world.

Responds Brianna: 

It is certainly earth-shattering to 18,000 employees and their families.

Comments Grant:

 I feel bad for everyone in the restaurant business right now. Sad times.

Craftworks was formed by the merger of the Gordon Biersch and the Broomfield-based Rock Bottom brewpub chains in 2010. Rock Bottom had gotten its start in Boulder 1991; founder Frank Day had opened Old Chicago even earlier. The original location at 1102 Pearl Street in Boulder had closed in early 2017, after 41 years.

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Landlords of some Craftworks restaurants, including Flatiron Crossing, have objected to the bankruptcy filing; there's a hearing on that case set for April 17 in Nashville, where Craftworks is now based after closing its Broomfield headquarters.

What do you think about the Old Chicago, Rock Bottom and ChopHouse closures? Post a comment or email your thoughts to cafe@westword.com.

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