WYOMING — Billy Hill’s Roadhouse on Route 138 closed suddenly Monday, an unpleasant surprise for its employees and for Richmond officials.
“I did not know about that,” Town Council President Paul Michaud said when contacted Tuesday.
Richmond Police Chief Elwood Johnson was also taken by surprise.
“I didn’t know about them closing,” he said. “The management there has been great to deal with. They’ve been very forthright. They’ve taken it upon themselves to come in and offer contact information if there’s a change in the on-site manager, so I’m not sure what the impetus was for them to close their doors.”
The casual dining restaurant and music venue, owned by 219 Main Street Inc., has only been open since 2014.
According to a report on the WJAR-10 website, the owners say the closing is temporary while the restaurant undergoes a major renovation. The employees have been laid off, making them eligible to collect unemployment benefits during the overhaul.
“Billy Hill’s Roadhouse has indeed fired our entire staff, and will remain closed indefinitely until new systems are in place,” a Facebook post on the Billy Hill’s account said.
Michaud said he understood that the restaurant would become a cigar lounge.
“It’s supposed to become some kind of smoking bar – whatever they’re going to come up with, I don’t know,” he said. “They have to come before council with that plan anyway. We’ll find out exactly what it is.”
The restaurant’s website was down as of noon Tuesday.