The perfect storm of COVID, labor shortages and high food prices that has thrashed the restaurant industry recently has claimed another victim, Aurora’s popular Gillerson’s Grubbery in downtown Aurora.
Yesterday, after 7 years at its 33 West New York Street location, the eatery shut its doors for good.
“Having a brick and mortar space is not only a ton of hard work, but it is a profit killer,” owner Dan Emerson explained on social media. “Overhead, labor, and everything in between (cough, cough, Covid and some unmentionables because we are trying to embrace grace) has made operating a restaurant in downtown Aurora challenging.”
While announcing the bad news, Emerson pointed to the future.
“We are announcing that we are getting out of the restaurant industry and focusing our time, effort, and talent in the food truck game and catering world,” he said.
“It turns a higher profit, it involves less risk, and it is going to give us the opportunity to cast our net and hit a larger market and make more memories and connections in the long run.”
The food truck industry has grown into a billion-dollar industry recently, having grown at an annual rate of 7.5% over the past five years. To restaurant owners, food trucks offer the opportunity to experiment, be creative, and avoid the heavy overhead associated with brick and mortal locations. According to industry reports, start-up costs can be as low as $50,000 and average revenue is in the $300,000 range.
Emerson indicated that the food truck will initially be available in the parking lot of Menards in Montgomery during the week and at Kuipers Farm in Maple Park on the weekends. He also pointed out the Gillerson’s will also still be catering and opening the restaurant for private events.
“To the customers who have been by our side, we cannot thank you enough,” he wrote. “Even though we are “closing” our doors…[it] does not mean we are done doing what we love.”