An iconic Dyersville dining establishment has become a casualty of the economic slowdown resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
After being on temporary shutdown since late November, Country Junction announced the temporary closure is now permanent in a Jan. 1 Facebook post.
Country Junction was established in 1990 as a family-style restaurant and quickly became part of the Dyersville experience, with visitors flocking from not only local communities but all over the Midwest.
Owner Dave Buchheit explains the loss of customer traffic was too much for the restaurant to overcome.
“The pandemic obviously slowed business down to the point staying open wasn’t feasible,” said Buchheit. “We closed the first time on March 17, then in June sometime we were able to reopen when things settled down enough to make it worthwhile.”
“When the cases in the area started increasing, we really saw a reduction in the number of guests we were serving. We offered curbside and delivery and then when the number of cases became more and more again, there wasn’t enough interest or enough customers to make it worthwhile.”
Country Junction built a reputation with its homestyle cooking and rustic atmosphere.
“We’ve had super great food. The comfort food was attractive to everyone as well as the amazing pies that we would sell. We’ve become famous for our roast beef along with the family-style breakfast we served on Sunday mornings,” said Buchheit. “The old barn setting with the antiques created an environment that was pretty attractive to folks.”
Buchheit has owned the business since 2014, and said the decision to close the restaurant with its 40 employees has been extremely difficult.
“This is a very hard decision and it comes with trepidation as far as what’s happened here. It’s been a difficult decision to close and either sell or lease the property,” Buchheit said. “We are extremely thankful for the support over the years from not only the customers but also our staff.”
Nearly 175 former customers responded to the Country Junction’s Facebook post by Sunday, Jan. 3, leading Buchheit to believe the restaurant made a positive impact in the area.
“The amount of interaction we’ve had with people from all over the country responding to the Facebook post announcing the closing has been appreciated,” Buchheit said. “That makes me think we probably did a pretty good job.”
Moving forward, Buchheit said the establishment will look to move some inventory before making a final decision on the future of the property.
“We have a little mini-sale scheduled for Jan. 9 to see if folks would be interested in some of the gift shop items,” he said. “We have some wine and some other things we’ll make available for just a few hours that day. After the sale, we’ll probably put the property up for sale or lease.”