Andy Wheeler, who said he worked as a server for the restaurant for 6 1/2 years, said he found out the restaurant was closing on Thursday morning via a text message from managing partner Jack Borgmeyer.
"It was kind of shocking, to say the least, after 6 ½ years of working there you expect to at least get a phone call," he said. "I had another job so I didn't lose all my income."
Owner Dan Borgmeyer said the restaurant lost its lease and would not be able to continue operating.
"We were very disappointed," he said. "We felt like we were on the uptick."
Borgmeyer said they had been negotiating with the landlord for six months, but were unable to come to an agreement.
Jeff Eisenberg, leasing agent for the space at 1644 Country Club Plaza Drive, said the price on the space was increasing from $18 to $22 per square foot.
He said he was targeting national restaurant chains, similar to Tilted Kilt, for the space. Hotshots Bar and Grill, which is next door to Grappa Grill, is expanding its space after a fire earlier this year, but will not be taking over the lease at Grappa Grill, Eisenberg said.
Borgmeyer said the owners are trying to work out what funds are available. He said they would try to do right by the employees.
"We're talking to the banks, the vendors, the sales tax people," he said. "When the door closes suddenly, your whole income stream stops."
"We will obviously try to pay everyone what we can when we can," he said.
Carrie Stephens, who worked at the restaurant, said she is fortunate
in that she'd gotten a second job recently and had put in her two weeks
at Grappa Grill the Monday before it closed.
Stephens said the four owners of the restaurant are successful businessmen in St. Charles. "If they don't have the funds to pay us, I don't understand what kind of business operation they think they are running," she said.