MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Hard Rock Cafe on Beale Street has filed a notice to close its doors, leaving multiple people without jobs.
According to the labor department, the restaurant plans to close on July 30. The total number of affected workers is 52.
“It’s so surprising because this is like the Rock ‘n Roll capital,” said Lex Freeman, a tourist from Houston, Texas.
They had just honored music icons Larry Dodson and James Alexander of the Bar-Kays by putting their outfits and memorabilia in the Hard Rock.
“Totally, totally surprised, totally shocked,” Dodson said. “I knew nothing of it. Of course, you know, we had a great unveiling of the outfits that James and I donated to the Hard Rock. We had a great unveiling the other day.”
The restaurant was a tourist attraction showcasing live music, food, and the memorabilia of music giants.
“We’re talking about Isaac Hayes, Elvis Presley, B.B. King, we’re talking about icons. People from Aerosmith, the Rolling Stones. My God, we were honored to have our garments in the same room,” Dodson said.
Kevin Kane, the president, and CEO of Memphis Tourism says he thinks “this is a function of business operations. Their lease was up. They either had to renew or had to opt-out”.
The Hard Rock has previously had talks with city leaders to put a hotel downtown. “I do know the conversations on the Hard Rock Hotel had stalled, currently, but it doesn’t mean that it won’t be resurfaced,” Kane said.
📧 Sign up for WREG newsletters and have the latest top stories sent right to your inbox.
📲 Download the WREG App today and stay up to date with breaking news and weather.
📡 See more breaking news, local news and weather from WREG.com for Memphis and the Mid South.
Kane also said he does not think the crime problem in Memphis played a role in the restaurant’s closing. “No, I don’t think so,” Kane said. “There are Hard Rock Cafes literally all over the world, cities that have more challenges than Memphis.”
WREG reached out to the restaurant for a statement. They said the following:
“In July 2023, the lease for Hard Rock Cafe Memphis, located at 126 Beale Street, will expire. The location will permanently close as a result. We are currently expanding operations in 50 locations within the next five years and are open to having another location within the Memphis market if the right space can be identified.”
The Hard Rock first opened at 315 Beale where Tin Roof now sits back in 1997 before moving to its current home in 2014.