After six years in business, Drivers Sports Cafe will close its doors tonight.

Drivers Sports Cafe, 222 E. Logan St., will no longer be in operation after today according to staff. At 2 a.m., after the business’s New Year’s Eve festivities, the manager will lock the front door of the two-story bar and grill on Ottawa’s north side.

Staff received the news Monday morning from the owner, Bob Clements, who was unable to be reached for an interview.

“He just told us that this was just going to be it, that we were going to shut her down,” Richard Andrews, five-year employee and head cook, said Monday.

Drivers opened in January 2007, and since that time has served the Ottawa area with traditional American food — steaks, hamburgers, sandwiches, appetizers — along with beer and hard liquor. Drivers also has a 120-person banquet area and outside seating on a wraparound deck.

This wasn’t a planned closing, Andrew said. Financial difficulties and the fact that business has been slow for the past few months took its toll on the small business, he said, adding he doesn’t know the specifics of the business’s finances. 

“[Business] wasn’t as big as what it’s been compared to last year and the year before that,” Andrews said.

Clements, who works at the Ottawa restaurant about five days a week, owns similar sports bars in Overland Park and Emporia. The restaurant’s inventory likely will be taken to the other two restaurants, Andrews said, but he isn’t sure what the owners will do with the building.  

See Wednesday’s Herald for more on the business’s closing.