Around Harlem: Amy Ruth's in Trouble

Small businesses are feeling the weight of the recession here in Harlem. Check out what our Communications Team has pulled up (thanks Erica):

Harlem eatery Amy Ruth’s files for bankruptcy
Popular restaurant has fallen behind on rent, taxes and other bills.
By Lisa Fickenscher

Popular Harlem eatery Amy Ruth’s filed for bankruptcy protection on Tuesday. Owner Lawrence Jordan said he will make an announcement today. The restaurant remains open—at least for now. The 11-year-old eatery on West 116th Street attracts celebrities and long lines of diners, but it has fallen behind on its rent, utilities, food bills and other obligations.

According to the filing, it owes $25,000 to Con Edison, $60,000 to its landlord and $734,000 in taxes to the state, though that amount is listed as “disputed.” In 2007, Mr. Jordan signed a lease to open a second location in downtown Brooklyn, in the space formerly occupied by 125-year-old Gage and Tollner restaurant. But in January, the landlord reclaimed the space after the restaurant failed to open. Famous for its comfort food, Amy Ruth’s was founded by Carl Redding, who named the eatery for his grandmother.

Mr. Redding reportedly sold his interest in the business within the past couple of years to a group of investors lead by Mr. Lawrence, who is listed in the filing as the managing partner of Morning Star Restaurant Group. Reached by phone today at the restaurant, Mr. Lawrence declined to discuss the bankruptcy, adding that an announcement would be forthcoming.

Let's hope that this Harlem staple, and other small businesses, can survive these trying times.


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