One of the most renowned restaurants in rural Waterloo Region has closed its doors.

Judy Muegge, the owner of the Black Forest Inn in Conestogo, says the closure is effective immediately. On Tuesday, she was phoning customers who had booked reservations for Thanksgiving dinners, telling them that they would not be accommodated.

“We’ve just thought about a lot of things and decided that we had no way out but to close down,” she said in an interview.

The biggest issue, Muegge says, is the road construction on Sawmill Drive which has left Conestogo inaccessible to through traffic for most of the year.

That construction prompted her to close the restaurant for six weeks this summer. When it reopened, some of her staff members had moved on to other jobs.

“I don’t have any kitchen help. I have two chefs that left,” she said.

Also factoring into the decision to close the restaurant was the recent increase to the minimum wage and future planned increases – increases which, Muegge says, make her business less viable.

Muegge says the Black Forest Inn building will likely be put up for sale.

With reporting by Nicole Lampa