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Will Burritoville workers get screwed?

Haven't had one in ages, but I just started missing their Route 66 and Lost in Austin burritos.

Haven’t had one in ages, but I just started missing their Route 66 and Lost in Austin burritos.

Earlier this week, all of the dozen or so Burritovilles left in the city abruptly closed. Yesterday, The New York Times’ Tina Kelley quotes an owner of a jewelry store next to the Burritoville on Water Street: “A couple of days ago the workers, the chefs and delivery boys showed up around 10 in the morning and were waiting on the stoop out front. Eventually they went home because no one showed up to open the store.”

If you think you’ve heard of something similar happening at another veg-friendly establishment, you’re right.

Burritoville was founded and later sold by Steve Lynn and David LaPointe (who, now with his wife, Jean LaPointe owns Curly’s Vegetarian Lunch). They (and another partner Bob Salamack) also started Veg-City Diner which had a 14th Street and Sixth Ave location and another at Third Ave off 9th Street.

The Third Ave location opened just days before the 9/11 attacks and shuttered weeks after. The remaining Veg-City Diner on 14th Street remained open for another couple years and had quite a following before it abruptly closed due to a reported kitchen fire. (It was Veg-City Diner, with its incredible revolving vegan cakes display, that made Danielle Konya’s VeganTreats famous.)

Strangely enough, some waiters and chefs who worked at the Veg-City Diner reported that they had not been paid for weeks before that fire. And those who were owed wages couldn’t identify anyone who supposedly worked the day the fire reportedly happened. (Bear in mind that Veg-City Diner was a 24-Hour establishment.)

Days after Veg-City Diner shuttered, employees and customers were informed via a sign taped to the gate that the restaurant will re-open soon. But it never happened. Last I heard, a few persistent workers received some payment of back wages, but some never recovered any payment.

More from the Times article: “Burritoville’s Web site has closed, its various phones are either constantly busy or unanswered, and the company president, Jonathan Bernstein, could not be reached for comment. A woman who returned a message on the company’s behalf, identifying herself only as a member of Burritoville’s ‘executive management,’ said the chain would reopen several stores in the next two weeks.”

Let’s hope the many hard-working Burritoville workers will not be screwed – especially considering the tough economic times we’re in.

8 Comments

  1. Comment by

    quietgrrrl

    on #

    Last time I was there, I stood at the counter for about 2 minutes while the staff completely ignored me. Excuse me for not crying too much.

  2. Comment by

    Michael

    on #

    And there was always roaches on the free nacho bar.
    so gross.

  3. Comment by

    .

    on #

    I’m really going to miss Burritoville. Those free chips and salsa were a lifesaver to me during some really tough times. And it was some of the tastiest salsa ever, too, especially the chunky “salsa-of-the-day” and the incendiary green stuff.

  4. Comment by

    BurritoVille Crusaser

    on #

    Let’s all give a moment of silence for these fallen menu items, we shall never get a chance to consume again: The Barbeque Tempeh Wrap :( , The TLT Wrap :(, and a final tear for the Vegetarian Sloppy Joe wrap, always a winner. Boo Hoo. This sucks. To comment #2, I never saw roaches at the nacho bar. EVER.

  5. Comment by

    Wendy Williams

    on #

    The last time I went to the Burritoville on 23rd street. I saw the BIGGEST bug I’ve ever seen (about 6 or 7 inches long and a few inches wide) crawling up the wall. I never went back to that place again.

    I’m not crying about their failure.

  6. Comment by

    bluepastry

    on #

    lol, i was good friends with Steve Lynn and would not trust him as faras i could throw him. Why don’t reporters check and see where Steve Lynns start up money came from after he got out of prison.

    steves partner seemed like a really nice guy,

    as for Burritoville, it was overpriced and mediocre at best

  7. Comment by

    Austin

    on #

    First of all of you people who missed Burritoville, I miss it dearly too, and for all of whom, who are criticizing David LaPointe and Steve Lynn, this is for you. It is not David LaPointe?s fault to have a slimy gross business partner like Steve Lynn. This man not only was a bad person but a bully to David LaPointe. David LaPointe was a good man and a hard worker, and at the same time raising Two kids. There should never be any blame on David, its all Steve Lynn’s fault. Back to the people who miss Burritoville, I hope there will be another restaurant as good as Burritoville one day.

  8. Comment by

    No surprise

    on #

    I know another victim of Steve Lynn. He helped open a restaurant and demanded cash payments wanting to be a silent partner because of his record. Then when he didn’t get what he wanted he stole the business papers. He is not a good person by any means.

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