Calistoga closes last Kentucky restaurant

Calistoga Artisan Sandwiches, which closed its Lexington location in summer 2011, has now shuttered its last restaurant in Kentucky.

Only three locations remain and are in the Naples, Fla., area. Lexington's location was the first outside Florida for the company, which was founded in 2004.

"Unfortunately, sales never reached a level that could overcome rising food and occupancy costs," chief financial officer Aaron Thompson said in a statement about the closing of the Louisville location. "We sincerely appreciate the patronage of our loyal customers and the service of our dedicated employees these past three-and-a-half years."

The company, which was similar to major chains like Panera, had received backing from investors including John Schnatter, founder and CEO of Louisville-based Papa John's Pizza.

Schnatter said he saw a promising future for the chain when he was interviewed about his investment in 2008, though he did acknowledge the difficult nature of the restaurant business.

"I'm not counting on another Papa John's," Schnatter told The Courier-Journal of Louisville. "In business you can be pretty good, but you still have to have a little luck."

The closing of the Hamburg location, which opened in May 2008, came as a surprise to many because of its prominent location on Winchester Road and Sir Barton Way, at one entrance to the Hamburg shopping district.

Hamburg developer Patrick Madden said Tuesday he has received "plenty of interest" in the spot but has not yet signed a company to take the space.