A famous restaurant that’s become an institution in Darien may soon be closing its doors.
The property for Chuck’s Steak House, at 1340 Post Road, has been put on the market for sale, said Tim Fisher, one of the owners of the restaurant.
Fisher said the property has been listed through RYHS Commercial Real Estate in Stamford. Fisher said Chuck Rolles, one of the steak house’s principal owners, is an older man now and he made the decision to place the restaurant on the market. Chuck’s Steakhouse has been open since the 1968, though Rolles has been in the restaurant business since the 1950s.
The 3,500 square-foot restaurant is located just south of the Interstate 95 Exit 11 on-ramp.
Fisher said last Thursday that the restaurant will operate as usual for the time being.
“We intend to operate at Chuck’s until the day comes when there’s a sale of the property,” Fisher said Thursday.
“We don’t know when a sale may or may not take place. It may be here another 45 years. We don’t know,” Fisher added. “We are testing the market.”
Christian Bangert, a senior vice president and principal at RHYS, said he has reached out to “a handful” of potential buyers so far, but the property has not been advertised at large so far.
“We are testing the waters with a few potential purchasers about what kind of valuation they were puting on the property and what would be the best future use,” Bangert said Tuesday. Normally, the company would advertise a property with a posting on its website as well as let people know through email blasts to people interested in buying property.
Bangert said he is looking to close a sale of about $2.5 million, the same price reached for the sale of the former Darien Golf Center at 233 Post Road. The building, which is similar in size to Chuck’s, was purchased in May by Patriot Bank and will be its new Darien location soon, Bangert said. Patriot Bank will leave its location on 800 Post Road.
Bangert expects to complete a sale by the end of the year or early 2015. Though Chuck’s is currently a restaurant, Bangert said the current owners are set on maintaing the site for food service.
“We want to make sure the next person who takes ownership will put something there to benefit the town of Darien,” said Bangert, a Darien resident. “We’re not bringing in someone who will pay the highest and best number.”
There are currently 14 Chuck’s Steak House locations across the country, though the company had as many as 29 in years past. The second Connecticut location is in Danbury and is not closing, Fisher said.
Susan Cator, executive director of the Darien Chamber of Commerce, said she found out about Chuck’s being on the market last Wednesday during a promotional event for the state’s Tax Free Week.
Cator said it would be surprising to have Chuck’s close because the restaurant is “a Darien institution.”
“It has been providing meals to families and business people and residents for years,” Cator said. “When you go to a restaurant you love, you expect a high level of quality, a great meal and a good price and you want to enjoy yourself. So that’s what I think people will miss.”