DeKALB – Fatty's Pub & Grille is for sale, according to an online listing, but the owner said they're not closing or really looking to sell. rather just feeling out the real estate market as they reevaluate family priorities.
"We're not in the mood to sell," said Jeff Dobie, one of the owners of Fatty's, who said the business has been listed for over a year. "We're just dipping our toe in the water. I've been doing this for 20 years, love what I'm doing, and I could do it for another 20. But you're always curious."
The business at 1312 W. Lincoln Highway is popular among the Northern Illinois University crowd and larger DeKalb community, and hosts weekly trivia and bingo nights, wine tastings and holiday and sports events along with live entertainment. It's been a DeKalb staple for two decades, according to the listing on www.loopnet.com, and is being listed for "medical reasons," the post shows.
Jake Dobie, son of Jeff and Marissa Dobie, was diagnosed with leukemia in 2017. On Thursday, Dobie said he was on his way to a doctor's appointment with Jake, and that things are "going well" but the three-year treatment for his son's illness has inspired his family to reassess.
"When something like that happens, you re-evaluate what you're doing, especially when it's your child," Dobie said. "So that kind of started the thought process, to say 'OK, let's get out there and see.'"
Dobie said though business is still coming in, he's noticed in the last few years as NIU enrollment has declined so has revenue from the student crowd.
"Our business is fine, it's stable," Dobie said. "But we get much more local business and we get less NIU business."
The 7,550-square-foot sports bar and grill restaurant was built in 1967 and has been owned and operated by the Dobie family since 2000, the listing shows. The restaurant is listed for $3.2 million, which Dobie said he feels is a "reasonable price."
The sports bar and grill offers lunch, dinner and late-night service, and is the official caterer for NIU, the listing shows, and brings in $2.8 million in gross sales.
Fatty's gaming area with video gaming machines and an ATM is also listed in the sale.
Dobie remarked on the changing downtown business demographics, with many business owners in the Central Business District receiving support from the city for development, including tax increment finance funds.
"There's a lot of things going on in the city," Dobie said. "But for guys like us, the few of us that aren't in the downtown area, it's become a lot more difficult because we don't get any assistance. It's not the city's fault, but we're on our own."