Long John Silver’s now closed

Local fast food diners now have one less selection on Center Street in Marshalltown.

The seafood restaurant Long John Silver’s was expected to close Wednesday, according to a leader of its ownership group. The restaurant, located at 2306 S. Center St., is owned by the Urbandale-based Nellis Management Company.

The company is closing 16 of its 31 LJS locations due to poor sales, said Richard Levitt, chairman of the board of Nellis. Levitt attributes the poor performance to bad publicity the company received last year for using trans fat oil to cook its products, which it has since changed.

“It’s just unfortunate that the brand suffered a reputational problem because of the use of trans fat oil,” Levitt said.

The Marshalltown location included 11 full and part-time employees who were expected to be told of the closure Wednesday. Other locations in Iowa closing or already closed include Fort Dodge, Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, Ankeny, West Des Moines, Muscatine and Des Moines.

“It’s so sad, just awful,” Levitt said.

Levitt said all of the 16 total stores across multiple states are being closed due to being the lowest-performing in sales of their group of 31.

Levitt said the closures should not be blamed on the employees of the stores, who have performed at a “very high level” through the years.

It’s not clear what will be done with the current Marshalltown location.

“We’ll try to put it to use in some way,” Levitt said. “We’ll entertain both a sale or a rental.”