SPOKANE, Wash. - A downtown fixture for more than 30 years, 40 employees of C.I. Shenanigans are now out of work after the restaurant closed abruptly Saturday night.
The closure of the restaurant, located behind the convention center along the Spokane River, has left confusion among its now unemployed workers as well as the land owners the restaurant sits on, the Spokane Public Facilities District.
The district said that Shenanigans had a home until January 31 and the sudden closure on Saturday was not part of the plan.Employees dazed and confused after Shenanigans' abrupt closure
Saturday night, Shenanigans held their first ever "Shuck for a Cure" fundraiser. Then, according to employees, a manager announced they'd need to file for unemployment as the restaurant was not reopening in the morning.
A sign on the door explained to the public that "the closure is the result of the Spokane Facilities District impending expansion of the Spokane Convention Center."
The expansion plan has been in place for years and, according to the district's CEO, Kevin Twohig, Shenanigans knew they had more time.
"They have a lease through January 31st, we'd recently reconfirmed that and told them that they had to get out on January 31st, but we thought they would stay through that time period," Twohig said.
When news of the restaurant's abrupt closure began spreading Sunday morning, Twohig was just as surprised as the restaurant's employees.
"They hadn't given any indication that they were going to close early," he said.
The convention center would have let Shenanigan stay through January 31, but now Twohig is thinking of the 40 employees who have to file for unemployment.
"That's really sad and to think that they didn't have any idea this was coming is just really unfortunate," he said.
As for the expansion Twohig says they haven't confirmed a builder yet but expect groundbreaking on the expansion project in spring or summer of next year.
KXLY attempted to get a statement from C.I. Shenanigans several times since Sunday. Everyone contacted, from the restaurant general manager to the bar manager, have backed out of interview requests. Owners would not comment on the restaurant's closure.