DYERSVILLE, Iowa — A popular Dyersville restaurant announced Friday that its temporary closure would be permanent.
Country Junction announced the move on its Facebook page Friday morning, citing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s a pretty simple business decision based on the amount of opportunity we had, and not even opportunity but, really, due to the business environment COVID created,” owner Dave Buchheit told the Telegraph Herald. “We did not have enough guests to make up the expense.”
By mid-afternoon Friday, the online announcement already had garnered more than 100 comments from former diners saddened by the news.
The pandemic prompted Country Junction, as well as restaurants throughout the state, to close down in mid-March, Buchheit said. He reported that business was going OK after the restaurant reopened in mid-June, though sales were down substantially from previous years.
Country Junction announced an indefinite closure due to COVID-19 on Nov. 24. Buchheit said staff had hoped the course of the pandemic would change and offer “some light at the end of the tunnel,” but it has not.
“We made the decision that it was going to be such a long time to get back to that level of business,” he said.
Buchheit said a small sale has been planned for Jan. 9 for some of the remaining items in the restaurant’s gift shop. Following that, the property will go up for sale.
“Really, the world that we’re in right now is one of uncertainty, and it’s an unfortunate circumstance, but we’re sure going to make the best of it,” he said. “I’m sure something nice will go in there. I’d approve of anything nice going in there.”
Country Junction was established in 1990 and has been visited by presidential candidates, sports stars and national newspeople. The original barn structure has remained intact for the restaurant’s entire time in business.
Buchheit purchased Country Junction in 2014. He noted that the business has been a staple in the community, with a menu full of comfort food and special acclaim for the homemade pies, and thousands of people from all over the country have walked through its doors.
Buchheit emphasized his appreciation to everyone who has eaten at the restaurant over the years, as well as the staff. At the time of closure, about 40 people were employed by the restaurant.
“Thank you to all the employees who made it as good as it was with their service and a really special thanks to everyone that visited there that enjoyed a meal,” he said. “I hope I served them well.”