Basta EastPort closing tonight after 20 years in business, owner says unable to find staff

Local News

EAST PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A riverfront Italian restaurant in East Peoria is forced to close its doors after two decades in business, and the owner says it’s because they can’t find staff.

More than 110,000 restaurants have closed because of the pandemic, according to the National Restaurant Association.

Basta EastPort opened in 2000 and is owned and operated by the Backes family – Kathy, Bill, and their daughter Kara.

Kathy Backes said the last 12 months were a challenge with COVID-19, and the main reason for closing is not being able to find staff.

“We’ve never encountered that before and it’s almost unfathomable to us who have worked hard our whole lives to come to this point, but we just cannot get help,” she said.

Backes said she is looking forward to retirement, but it’s bittersweet because they will miss all their regulars.

“Central Illinois has been so good to us, such wonderful friendships through the years, we’ve had great great people, a lot of them are coming in tonight for one last celebratory dinner,” she said.

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