Joe's Crab Shack abruptly closes in Hobart

Joe's Crab Shack in Hobart is shown.

HOBART — A new restaurant is being planned for a busy stretch of U.S. 30.

BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse is looking to tear down the former Joe’s Crab Shack to make way for the new eatery in the Crossings at Hobart shopping plaza.

Joan Leguay, a representative for BJ’s, said the company plans to start work as soon as building permits can be obtained.

The restaurant is known for its Southern California twist on Chicago-style pizza and its craft beers. The Hobart location could open by the end of the year, Leguay said.

“It’s going to look beautiful when it’s done,” she said.

Although the existing building near U.S. 30 and Iowa Street will be demolished, the new structure will be in the same footprint.

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The project has received support from Hobart panels.

The Board of Zoning Appeals approved variances for the new building. The Plan Commission also approved the site plan for the facility and authorized outdoor dining there.

City officials said they are looking forward to the improvements the project will bring to that area of Hobart.

“It’s a welcome addition to the city,” board member Jason Spain said.

Joe's Crab Shack has been vacant since the restaurant stopped operating in August 2017.

Hobart building official Mike Hannigan said water pipes in the building froze in the winter. That left the sprinkler system inoperable, which means the facility no longer complies with the city's fire code.

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