PORTLAND, Ore. — A man and woman looking for a bite to eat Tuesday morning were shocked to find the Jantzen Beach Cracker Barrel closed and boarded up. Others who live and work in the area were just as surprised.
"What's going on?" asked Steve Goodwin.
KGW reached out to Cracker Barrel to find out, and the company confirmed that the Jantzen Beach restaurant had been shut down.
"As a standard course of business, we continually evaluate the performance of our stores, using various criteria to ensure we are meeting the needs of our guests and our business," read a statement sent to KGW.
"With that, we have made the difficult decision to close our Jantzen Beach, Oregon Cracker Barrel location," the company said. "Our focus right now is in assisting our employees during this transition, and we are grateful for the support of our guests and the Jantzen Beach community."
The statement didn't mention any specific evaluation criteria, but employees who spoke to KGW said the restaurant's management called an emergency meeting Monday to announce the closure, and they told staff that it was due to security issues.
That's something the neighbors said they're quite familiar with.
"There's a lot of theft," Goodwin said. "People on drugs."
A quick look around the area Tuesday turned up drug paraphernalia, discarded clothes tags and abandoned shopping carts.
"I would think a retail restaurant wouldn't be impacted that much by the crime and drug problems and that sort of thing," neighbor Ron Schmidt said.
While the abrupt closure of a business like Cracker Barrel may be surprising to some, there have been some other recent closures in the Portland area under similar circumstances.
Coffee giant Starbucks announced last month that it would close two Portland locations — one downtown and one at Gateway — along with more than a dozen other stores across the country, due to safety concerns for staff and customers. A third Portland location in Hollywood has also been shuttered.
"Oh it's a bummer," Starbucks customer Sandi Shell told KGW at the time. "It's where I go all the time. It's where my whole office goes."
On Tuesday, staff could be seen moving items out of the Jantzen Beach Cracker Barrel, along with food that would be donated to a non-profit following the sudden closure of the restaurant.
"It's very disappointing because that was a good restaurant," Goodwin said.
Employees told KGW they will have a chance to transfer to other stores in the area that remain open, namely the Cracker Barrels in Tualatin and Beaverton.