UPDATED: Champaign's Ruby Tuesday closes

UPDATED: Champaign's Ruby Tuesday closes

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UPDATED 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

CHAMPAIGN — The owner of several different Ruby Tuesday franchises across the Midwest has decided to close his Illinois restaurants, according to corporate.  

The Ruby Tuesday spokesperson said the company went to "great lengths" in assisting the franchisee, Jerry Ruta, but he ultimately made the decision to shut down.

"We appreciate the patronage of the many residents and guests that have dined at the Illinois Ruby Tuesday restaurants over the years along with the dedicated employees of the franchisee and will evaluate opportunities to return to the market in the future," the spokesperson said.

CHAMPAIGN — He received the text message at 9:30 a.m. today.

“It said we were out of a job,” Ruby Tuesday grill chef Emmaniel Moore said in the parking lot of the restaurant at 2301 North Prospect. “So I came up here to find out if they were joking or not. They weren’t joking.”

On Wednesday morning, a sign on the locked main entrance of Ruby Tuesday read “Closed -- Thank You” as workers carried items from inside the restaurant to trash bins near the parking lot.

Moore, 40, of Champaign, has been with the company for 12 years. He was scheduled to work at 4 p.m. today.

“I wish they would have given me a head’s up,” he said.

Dunny Thompson of Champaign said she dined monthly at Ruby Tuesday. She arrived shortly after 11 a.m. today only to be told the business had closed.

“I had no idea,” said Thompson, a big fan of the restaurant’s salad bar.

Jerry Ruta, president and owner of the company that owns the Ruby Tuesday franchise, did not immediately return a phone message.

The Champaign location, which opened in 2004, wasn't the only Ruby Tuesday to close its doors Wednesday.

According to local media outlets, the chain's locations in Decatur and Effingham shut down abruptly, as well, with notes placed on the front doors the only warning.

In May, the company closed its location in Quincy. Since 2010, at least five other Ruby Tuesdays have closed statewide: in Bloomington in 2010; Orland Park and Springfield in 2011; and Peoria and Bradley in 2012.

Company officials did not immediately return phone messages left Wednesday by The News-Gazette.

Staff writer Nicole Lafond contributed to this report.

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Bob from Champaign wrote on July 27, 2016 at 12:07 pm

Hmm. . . Seems like a perfect location for a Portillo's or Chik fil a. 

tarlos25 wrote on July 27, 2016 at 1:07 pm

Well that sucks.  Any recommendations for a good salad bar now that they're gone?  I'm looking for something with a variety of plain options to put together, not so fond of pre-done salads (I don't like dressing).

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on July 27, 2016 at 2:07 pm
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Courier Cafe is generally considered the best in town.

C-U Townie wrote on July 28, 2016 at 12:07 am

Courier is good. I'd also recommend The Ribeye. 

ohnoes wrote on August 01, 2016 at 12:08 pm

Y'all are making me hungry!

LadyShade23 wrote on July 27, 2016 at 2:07 pm

As a now former employee of the Champaign Ruby Tuesday, I would like to let everyone know that Jerry Ruta actually closed ALL of his Ruby Tuesday locations which means hundreds of people in Illinios are now out of a job without warning.  Even the General Managers of all 14 locations were unaware until this morning when they were called and told about the immediate closures.  I'm just a server, and I'm lucky enough to have another job to fall back on, but many of the employees only had the one job and are now scrambling to find another.  Please keep everyone in your thoughts and prayers.

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on July 27, 2016 at 2:07 pm
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If they're like Mr. Moore, they won't have to look for long. Anybody who lasts 12 years in the same place has proven he gets the job done and is not a pain to work with.

Tyronius P HoggLegg wrote on July 29, 2016 at 8:07 am

Good Luck to all in finding new employment...that has to be a shock to find out like that.

kiel wrote on July 27, 2016 at 2:07 pm

What a cowardly, crappy thing to do to his employees. 

mjerryfuerst wrote on July 27, 2016 at 2:07 pm

The operation was probably bankrupt.   Not eonugh business. Too much competition.     Embezzlement. Who knows?    With no money to pay supplies or workers, the place just has to close.     Many business owners in  such a situation would act similarly.    Amounce before hand and some, possibly important employees,  will quit.

Chambanacitizen wrote on July 27, 2016 at 2:07 pm

Portillo's? Absolutely! As for Church-fil-a.. we had one up until last year. it failed miserably. Glad to see that one in the dirt.

johnny wrote on July 27, 2016 at 3:07 pm

Three years ago, actually.  Not that you care about accuracy.

ForReal wrote on July 27, 2016 at 11:07 pm

Chick-Fil-A failed? Maybe because it was in the basement of the UI Student Union? Oh.... based on the fact that you called it "Church-fil-a", you probably think it failed because of their stance on social issues. Sorry, but a vast majority of Americans don't care what the Chick-Fil-A owners believe. The care about the awesomeness of their chicken. 

Give Chick-Fil-A a good location, and it would succeed. No doubt about it. 

Chazman wrote on July 27, 2016 at 2:07 pm
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What is it with restaraunt owners in Champaign-Urbana that think this is the proper way to close a restaraunt?!?  This chicken-<expletive deleted> way of doing business is unbelievable, and happens time and time again.  Seems to be normal MO around these parts.....

ronaldo wrote on July 27, 2016 at 3:07 pm

Jerry Ruta is based in Stillwater, MN, not Champaign.  I guess your theory holds a bit less water than it did 30 seconds ago.

Chazman wrote on July 27, 2016 at 5:07 pm
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My point was that the restaraunt involved is in C-U - I could care less where the owner hails from.  His location is of no relevance to his shoddy business ethic.

khbdab wrote on July 27, 2016 at 2:07 pm

what a shame. best croutons i ever had, Would be great to see a Chik Fil A, Jack In The Box or White Castles there.

Andrew R. Timms wrote on July 27, 2016 at 3:07 pm
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Somebody contact Mick Jagger. Apparently it is possible to hang a sign on Ruby Tuesday.

And, for the record, I feel for alllll those people who are burdened by this closure.

BruckJr wrote on July 27, 2016 at 4:07 pm

Well done.

Tyronius P HoggLegg wrote on July 29, 2016 at 8:07 am

I commend you sir!

brock landers wrote on July 27, 2016 at 4:07 pm

Alexanders has a great salad bar

SLHendricks wrote on July 27, 2016 at 5:07 pm

Bring on Portillos! Their salads are great!! Actually everything is good at every one we have been to in the northern part of the state and Chicago area. We just have to hope it will last in Champaign where many fall away but seem to last in Bloomington-Normal. What a shame for all the dedicated staff.

Khristine wrote on July 27, 2016 at 6:07 pm
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I am somewhat stunned to read some of these comments. The best replacement for a sit down restaurant with servers, bussers, dishwashers and cooks that anyone can think of is Chik-fil-a? Champaign-Urbana has no shortage of poor quality fast food and the poor wages that accompany them. This is a loss to our local economy. More fast food joints isn't the solution. They're part of the problem. 

Fuzzybeard2016 wrote on July 27, 2016 at 11:07 pm
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The salad bar at The Ribeye is pretty good, and it is available as a seperate menu option.

jgrout wrote on July 28, 2016 at 12:07 pm

Lots of union tools on this thread.  Since you folks skipped Econ 101, I will remind you that the purpose of a business is to serve its customers: not to serve its employees, a union, or a social agenda, or a government... its customers.

Even twenty-odd years ago, when I lived in C-U, unions were out to break every business in town that they could not organize.  Back then, it was banks and non-union supermarkets at the top of their hit list.  These days, fast food is at the top because there is a one-word description for a fast food franchise that has been organized by a pushy, grabby union: bankrupt.  That is why they want laws passed  to force super high minimum wages and the elimination of part-time jobs, typically held by college students or others who need to make some spare cash: to force non-union businesses into a model where they can be successfully organized.

Tyronius P HoggLegg wrote on July 29, 2016 at 8:07 am

Do you have a point? Besides extolling us on the fact that you passed your Parkland Econ class...your blathering said nothing...

Oh and I am no "union tool" as you put it, just like to see other human beings treated with a bit of respect...

Urbanagirl2 wrote on July 28, 2016 at 10:07 pm

Welcome to the corporate world! Every employee is a number & not a human being with family & bills to pay. Kudos for the heads up to your valued employees. 

I urge people to shop & eat LOCALLY owned business. There are some amazing places in chambana to eat at.... And where employees are treated more like family, than just numbers. 

Just to name a few.... But there are more!! 

Crane Alley: wonderful food and bevs

Boomerangs: best Fish, wings & Italian beef

Black dog: best BBQ ever

Ferrans: best burger 

Courier Cafe: wonderful salad bar & fountain drinks 

the Ribeye: best salad bar & "date nite" specials 



JohnQPublic1 wrote on August 03, 2016 at 10:08 am

Wish we had this many comments and outrage about crime and officers being shot at on the other articles the news gazette posts.........but your favorite restaurant closes and the world comes to an end.  

Maybe Americans (many who are obsese) need to do a little less eating out and spend more time doing other things