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Bow Truss Closes All Coffee Shops After Employees Walk Out

Will all 10 locations reopen?

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All 10 Bow Truss coffee shops closed Thursday morning.
Bow Truss
Ashok Selvam is the editor of Eater Chicago and a native Chicagoan armed with more than two decades of award-winning journalism. Now covering the world of restaurants and food, his nut graphs are super nutty.

Not only has the $3.25 million deal to sell Bow Truss Coffee Roasters to Marcus Lemonis fallen through, but it appears founder Phil Tadros has closed all 10 of his coffee shops. Crain’s dropped the bombshell about the closures, reporting the shops closed Thursday morning and that coffee shop employees walked off the job because they haven’t been paid since last week.

“Taking a time out to pay everyone and getting back on track with hopefully the right partners,” Tadros texted on Thursday.

Signs were posted at the shop reading they’d be closed “until further notice.” What does that mean?

“Everything will be fine, we're taking this time to make sure that we get in bed with the right person,” Tadros texted.

Lemonis told Crain’s that he’s no longer interested in partnering with Tadros at Bow Truss, the coffee company founded by Tadros in Lakeview. Lemonis, known for TV’s The Profit, earlier this week revealed that he may back out of his December agreement to take control of a 90-percent stake in Bow Truss after he discovered Tadros was bouncing checks to employees, among other red flags.

Tadros suffered a tumultuous 2016, as news spread of broken business partnerships and lawsuits. Two restaurants closed at his space at 2928 N. Broadway St.: Iliana Regan’s critically-acclaimed Bunny, The Microbakery and Jared Leonard’s The Budlong. Tadros filed a lawsuit against Leonard after the shutter.

Bow Truss had an aggressive expansion strategy all across Chicago and opened many new locations within the last two years. Tadros’ other businesses include Doejo, a web-development firm with offices down the street for his original Bow Truss in Lakeview; and Aquanaut Brewery in Edgewater. Money wasn’t the only problem at Bow Truss, as Tadros told Crain’s that the company also faced a lack of leadership. Lemonis may face a $162,500 fee after singing a letter of intent and pulling out of the deal.

Tadros called Lemonis dishonest in how he supposedly attempted to broker the deal in public. He said he felt the company was pushed into a corner during negotiations, as Lemonis attempted secure a lower purchase price. As far the employees, Tadros doesn’t blame them for walking out. He does blame Lemonis for putting him in this situation.

“I'm 100-percent committed to getting all parties paid including employees, vendors, landlords, and investors,” Tadros texted. “I just need a little more time considering the most recent turn of events. Hopefully soon we can get back to sourcing, roasting, and preparing amazing coffees.”

It’s also unclear how this move will affect coffee supplies at restaurants where Bow Truss provides beans. Stay tuned for word on whether the shops reopen.

Bow Truss Coffee Roasters

1641 W 18th St, Chicago, IL 60608