J-Barn in Buffalo Township mysteriously closed
A local rural dining destination has apparently closed.
The sign posted on the locked double doors at the J-Barn Country Inn in Buffalo Township reads: “The J Barn CLOSED Due to a family emercency [sic].”
A phone call placed to the restaurant Sunday revealed the number is disconnected or no longer in service.
Their website link lists their status as permanently closed.
Local fans of the restaurant are baffled.
Verne Bergstrom, 26, of Sarver grew up frequenting J-Barn with his family. He recalls dining there on more than 60 occasions and was planning an outing there with his mother. He said he heard “rumblings” from people about the restaurant closing a few weeks ago.
“The last time my family dined there together was two weeks before my dad died in 2013,” Bergstrom said. “He always ordered a steak and J-Barn was the place to go if you had a special occasion to celebrate. For me, it’s the end of the family tradition.”
The Tribune-Review was unable to contact the current owners, listed in Butler County records as Judith and Ronald Kutsch. J-Barn originally opened decades ago under the name Jardines and was sold to James and Karen Walsh in 1994, garnering a reputation as a popular farm to table fine dining experience.
The restaurant was sold to the Kutschs in 2014.
Longtime J-Barn diner Margery Yasczak of West Leechburg hosted her daughter’s wedding rehearsal dinner there in 2010.
“I heard it was closing when I went to an auction and people were talking about how items were from the J-Barn,” Yasczak said. “We always dined there for special occasions, and I liked the ambiance — it was country elegance — and it was a hard place to find if you didn’t know where you were going.”
Local real estate agent Joe Weltner said he heard about the closing from a relative, and from his professional contacts.
“I heard chatter of J-Barn closing in my real estate social circle in August,” Weltner, of Coldwell Banker Fox Chapel said. “When I was in high school the J-Barn was where people went for prom, families went there for holidays and it was the nice place to go.”
Inside the restaurant, four dining rooms, decorated seasonally, accommodated up to 230 customers.
All guest tables received a complimentary appetizer tray featuring a generous sampling of breaded fried mushrooms, homemade rolls and butter and veggies with a homemade dip. “The dip for the veggies was the best,” Bergstrom said. “I am still trying to figure out that recipe.”
Bergstrom said because he lives in the Sarver area, friends have been asking him for J-Barn updates, but he doesn’t have answers.
“I don’t know what happened,” Bergstrom said. “I wish everyone the best and hope maybe one day it can reopen.”
Joyce Hanz is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.