Update: Building’s for Sale, but Lovell’s …

By Jenny Quill, contributing writer

Editor’s note: This article has been updated. The original article appears at the bottom of this page.

GazeboNews on Feb. 19 spoke with Susan Lovell, who wanted to clear up any confusion regarding the sale of her family’s restaurant, Lovell’s of Lake Forest.

Lovell wished to reiterate that the building that houses Lovell’s is for sale, not the restaurant, and that the family will continue to run the restaurant until a buyer is found. According to Lovell, a buyer has not yet stepped forward.

“We’re not closing any door until we have a sale or definitive date,” said Lovell. “Right now, everyone thinks we’re walking out, but we’re not. We really enjoy serving the community, they’re our friends, and we’d never let any of them hang.”

The restaurant will continue taking reservations as long as the doors are open. Should the building sell, Lovell promises to give customers and the community as much notice as possible, so that long-standing reservations and gift cards can be honored. But, she emphasizes, there is no buyer, and it may a month or a year before the building sells. And even if the building does sell, the hope is that the new buyer will continue to run the restaurant.

“Our intention is not to leave customers hanging,” said Lovell. “I know Dad [former NASA astronaut Jim Lovell] would love to see the restaurant go on.”

The Lovell family has decided to sell the property that has been home to their eponymous restaurant, Lovell’s of Lake Forest, since 1999.

Family patriarch Jim Lovell, the former NASA astronaut, and his four children, including Executive Chef Jay Lovell, jointly own the property (Jim Lovell, a general partner, maintains a one-percent stake). According to Jim Lovell, the decision to sell was made with the family’s best interests at heart.

“Because I’m getting older, and they’re all spread out, and Jay, who runs the restaurant is getting older, too, they decided to … feel around to see if there is an interest in the property,” said Lovell.

Ideally, the family would like to find a local buyer or group of buyers interested in continuing to run the restaurant and maintain it as a local landmark.

“The family hates to see the restaurant go,” said Lovell. “The staff has been here for 14 years now and we have a nice clientele that keeps coming in. We’d like to see someone come in and take the property and take care of the restaurant.”

According to Lovell, his son, Jay, is willing to stay on to facilitate the transition.

That said, the Lovell family recognizes that the property’s location is a prominent one, and they’re not opposed to selling to other business ventures.

Selling Lovell’s would lighten the workload for Jay Lovell, who is in the process of building out a new restaurant in Highwood. The new eatery, called Jay Lovell’s, is being billed as a smaller, more casual establishment specializing in southern-style comfort food. While an exact opening date has not yet been set, it’s anticipated that Jay Lovell’s will open in the first quarter of 2014.

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