ST. PAUL, Minn. (FOX 9) - Forepaugh's Restaurant in St. Paul will be closing after being in business since 1976, according to staff. The current owner, Bruce Taher, had operated the restaurant for about 12 years.
Taher says the closure is due to declining revenue as well as the loss of their executive chef last month. Executive Chef Kyle Bell died after battling the flu. He had worked at the restaurant for more than five years.
"Now that the chef passed away at such a young age, and trying to rebuild it when the revenues aren't there, it's probably time to say we've had a good run," he said.
General Manager Mami Doran told FOX 9 the restaurant's last day was Friday.
"The restaurant business is a tough business for anyone, much less than in a Victorian mansion that was built in 1870 and seats 150 plus people," said Doran. "We are all sad and we'll miss it."
Located in a Victorian mansion built in 1870, Forepaugh's opened in 1976 and was known for its meticulously restored setting and upscale dining. It was also rumored to be haunted by the maid of the original owner James Forepaugh, who, as the story goes, hung herself from a chandelier on the third floor.
When Tim and Beth Grossklaus got married at Irvine Park seven years ago, they had their wedding reception at Forepaugh's Restaurant across the street. Now the place where they celebrated one of the happiest days of their lives is closed.
"To know that that's gone - a big part of our history - is sad, but we still have lots of good memories," said Beth Grossklaus.
"I think it will be a big loss for the neighborhood, staff and devoted customers, and it's such a historic building," said Peter Ganzlin, a customer. "I hope something worthwhile continues in that space because there's a lot of history there."
The closure impacts about 50 employees. Management says they are working to place them at other restaurants and facilities in the area.
The restaurant posted a message on its Facebook page, thanking customers for their support over the years.
"Time flies, the years go by, and life takes its own turns, but the memories... forever remain," read a quote shared by Forepaugh's on Facebook.