OP restaurant featured among 2009 start-up businesses closes after four years

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - In 2010, John Westerhaus told 41 Action News "We're just happy to have gotten through our first year and still be able to be here and do the things that we love."

Unfortunately after a four-year run, WestChase Grille closed its doors Monday.

WestChase Grille was one of three local businesses followed by 41 Action News in 2009 for one year. They opened during the height of the economic downturn and faced a number of challenges and tweaks to their business plans that year to survive. 

WestChase Grille was an upscale restaurant started by friends John Westerhaus and Chase Wilcox, though Wilcox later left for another opportunity. Westerhaus appeared to have found the perfect balance between an upscale menu, a great wine list, live music and a great staff.

However in a letter to patrons Monday, Westerhaus wrote "After four years of serving you and your families, I had to make a very difficult decision and let go of this part of my dream. The restaurant is empty, the music is stilled and the kitchen is cold, but I will always remember your warm handshakes, your steadfast loyalty, and your gracious support. My staff and I cannot begin to express our gratitude and appreciation. While I am sad that it is over, I smile because it happened. Memories were made here that I will cherish forever."

There's no word yet on the next opportunity for Westerhaus. 

"I see this simply as the end of one thing and the beginning of everything else. Wish me and my staff well and think of us often as we will surely do the same of you," he said.

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