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.