Last local Joe’s Crab Shack goes out of business

The lone remaining Joe’s Crab Shack restaurant in Indianapolis has closed along with dozens of other locations across the country.

The Joe’s at 8250 Dean Road, on Lake Clearwater, closed Monday.

The only other Joe’s in Indiana, in Hobart, also closed this week, as did all three locations in Michigan.

Parent company Ignite Restaurant Group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June and has been looking for a buyer. The company operated about 140 Joe’s Crab Shack and Brick House Tavern & Tap restaurants in 32 states, as of April.

That number had fallen to 95 (72 Joe’s and 23 Brick House) as of Wednesday, according to the company’s web site.

Joe’s, which was founded in Houston in 1991, entered the Indianapolis market in 1997, and eventually had local locations on Dean Road and at 7303 U.S. 31 South and 2307 Post Road.

The U.S. 31 location closed last year and the Post Road location closed at least six years ago.  

Restaurant giant Landry’s Inc. won a bankruptcy court auction on Aug. 7 for the some of the assets of Houston-based Ignite for a reported $57 million.

Ignite listed estimated total debts as of April 30 of  $197.3 million in Chapter 11 papers filed in Houston federal court. Assets totaled $153.4 million.
Ignite announced in April that Robert S. Merritt had resigned as CEO and left the board. Jonathan Tibus, a managing director at turnaround firm Alvarez & Marsal, was chosen to replace him.

“The debtors have continued to experience declining financial performance and declines in comparable restaurant sales and income from operations at Joe’s and Brick House,” Tibus said in a court filing. “The debtors have closed underperforming restaurants and implemented cost reduction measures to help mitigate the effect of these declines and improve their financial position and liquidity.”

Ignite began looking around for a buyer last year, but as its condition deteriorated, viable offers dried up.

In June, Ignite lined up Kelly affiliate KRG Acquisitions Co. as a “stalking horse” to open bidding in a court-supervised auction. KRG’s offer consisted of $50 million and assumption of liabilities, but Landry’s topped that offer.


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