It is with a sad heart and great disappointment that we are making it official. JoBoy’s will not be reopening. The landlords do not want to work on any solutions to the issues we have had, instead they have terminated our lease and we will no longer be able to reopen. Michael Upton summed it up perfectly in an article he released today and we have copied it below. Thank you so much for all your support over the years. All of our customers will be greatly missed! Jeff & Jo
with Michael C. Upton
Cold kettles in Lititz
It is officially the end of an era for Jeff Harless, veteran, husband, and brewer. In July a straight-forward yet cryptic message appeared on the door and website of his eatery, JoBoy’s Brewpub, in Lititz: “We are closed until further notice to work out lease issues.”
“We had a good thing going. We had great employees. Our customers were the best… I feel like we’ve been screwed,” said Harless, speaking from his home state of South Carolina on Thursday, August 1, 2019. “I’m just letting you know what is exactly going on and why we are where we are.”
JoBoy’s will not be reopening. Harless, who ran the business with his wife Maria (a.k.a. Jo) and considered the venture a “mom and pop” operation, signed a 10-year lease on July 22, 2014 to open a barbeque restaurant and brewpub in the downtown location known as Rudy’s Hall. On the day I spoke with him Jeff said he received a certified letter from building owners Lisa and Wes Terry stating the lease “has been terminated.”
“Jo and I put our souls into this restaurant. This was our baby … We’ve been (negotiating) for the last year and a half with the landlords and they just won’t deal with us,” said Harless.
Harless continued by saying the rent on the property was continually raised to a point where he felt the restaurant could not afford to stay in business.
“Their rent drove us out of business … We made rent all the way through June and it got to the point where we had to make a decision: are we going to pay our employees or are we going to pay our landlord?” said Harless. “We’re going to pay our employees. That’s the number one thing to make sure our people are taken care of. And that’s what we did.”
After some thought, lots of tears, and accumulating stress Harless realized the restaurant needed to close, despite the community support he felt over five years in business in Lititz. (JoBoy’s first opened in 2010 in Manheim.)
“We said, ‘the heck with it.’ And we shut it down,” said Harless, who seems to have washed himself clean of the situation. “We could have negotiated this. We could have had (JoBoy’s) go on… It’s all in the lawyers’ hands now… It is what it is and Jo and I are doing fine.”
So, gone are the flagship brews Lititz Springs Lager and Manheim Red and some of my personal favorites over the years like Smash 69, a single malt, single-hopped (Chinook) I.P.A.; the Christmas-seasonal 9.5 percent ABV barley wine; and the Smoke IPA collab with DuClaw and Heavy Seas from 2015.
I’ll miss seeing Harless in Lititz. I’ll miss sitting at the window bar with friends enjoying a JoBoy’s brew. FYI, I’m not an investigative journalist. I did not try to contact building ownership; that due diligence is for the hard news writer. This is, after all, a column about the beer. And the taps have permanently stopped flowing at JoBoy’s Brew Pub. A solemn and truly bummed cheers and thanks for reading!