Andrea Romesser expected JBGB’s restaurant to be slammed with customers when she arrived for her New Year’s Eve shift.

Instead, the lead server found empty tables.

The highly anticipated night was the latest disappointment in what had been weeks of lackluster foot traffic. At times, the restaurant would close early, she said. It finally came to a head when she received a message Monday from owner Robert Voss, explaining that the restaurant would permanently close effective Tuesday.

The butchery would be offering discounted meats and grocery goods to customers until their doors shuttered on Sunday.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

“We all knew things weren’t great,” Romesser said. “It’s just frustrating we were given zero notice.”

Two other employees who declined to be named shared similar sentiments, describing the sudden closing as “upsetting,” and “shocking.”

Since opening in July 2021, the spot had become a favorite in the Remington neighborhood, boasting a wide assortment of meats, wood-fired pizzas and other specialty goods. Curated events, like the restaurant’s whiskey dinners, had been a hit. Future boozy nights were eagerly scheduled for the new year.

“People enjoyed that it was reliable and casual,” Romesser said, fondly recalling the many customers she found perched by the restaurant’s outdoor fire pit.

In a Tuesday evening phone call, owner Robert Voss cited financial viability as the reason for the closure.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Losses from the Remington location had started affecting business at Voss’s flagship restaurant in Cockeysville. While it appeared sudden to employees, he said, the decision to close was a long time coming.

Around the time the eatery opened, the omicron variant of COVID-19 emerged.

“It cut our legs off,” he said, and inflationary pressure only furthered the damage.

“In the restaurant industry, we already operate on incredibly thin margins,” he said.

Voss told The Banner that he did not want to worry employees with the stress of the struggling business. By the end of 2023, he said, the company decided they would rather close than offer customers a “lesser experience.”

“No decision was made in a lighthearted way,” he said. “We are all very upset.”