Summit Club closes after more than 40 years

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The Summit Club at the top of the Chase Tower in downtown South Bend had been dealing with a decline in membership, causing its unavoidable closure.

ABC 57 News talked, exclusively, with employees who said they are upset because they had no idea the restaurant was closing until they showed up for work Tuesday.

For more than 40 years the Summit Club has been the prestigious destination for South Bend's elite and now its closure is leaving dozens of employees without a job. "I was extremely shocked and feel bad for the people that I worked with," said one employee.

The former Summit Club chief did not want his name used, so he will be called Jack for the purposes of this story.

Jack says the Summit Club's reputation as a top-notch restaurant was the reason he became a chief at the club in the first place, but he and other employees said that started to change. Employees said that over the past couple of years business, along with its members, has been dropping.

That is when Jack said managers started cutting back employees' hours and trying to use up everything in stock.

"It just felt like we were getting ready to start a new menu and that seemed like a good explanation at the time".

However, it was not long before Jack realized what was really happening. So two weeks ago, he left the restaurant to take another job.

Other employees were not so lucky, though. Workers came in and worked a full day Tuesday, just to be told at the end of their shift that the club was closing down for good.

Now employees say they are upset they were not given any notice or time to find other work.

"They are all very talented people and they will make it through, but it's just unfortunate that they weren't given a heads up," said Jack.

Employees say that the recent controversy over the condition of the building had a lot to do with the club's decline in membership.

ABC 57 News tried to contact the general manager for comment several times, with no response.

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