Updated December 28.
The owner of Olde Towne Tavern & Grille in Suwanee said Friday morning that he was "blindsided" by the court decision that forced him to close the popular restaurant Thursday afternoon.
Robert Moravek, who purchased the Town Center restaurant in 2011, said he learned about 1 p.m. on Thursday (December 20) that he would have to close the restaurant that day. About 3 p.m., the doors were closed and locked by a court-appointed locksmith, and a bankruptcy filing notice had been posted on the door.
Morava said he had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy about four months ago, and that he had intended to continue operating and bring the restaurant out of bankruptcy.
However, the case was converted to a Chapter 7 at the request of the bankruptcy court trustee, and that forced a liquidation, which required shutting down the restaurant.
The court documents, which were furnished to Suwanee Patch, said that the ownership group had failed to meet several obligations of the Chapter 11 filing. The trustee filed its motion to convert to Chapter 7 or dismiss the case on November 20.
Moravek said that business had been struggling, with sales in 2012 off about $200,000 from the previous year. Prices of chicken, beef and tuna "went through the roof, and those are our biggest sellers."
Moravek also said the restaurant was "overstaffed." He noted that some employees had not been paid, and that they would have to go through the bankruptcy court to recover any back wages.
"I had 51 employees, and I loved them all."
Moravek noted that "we were a little slow in paying some things."
Olde Towne was Moravek's first venture into restaurants. But he also noted that the market changed somewhat. Just in 2012, restaurants such as Hammerhead's, Gulf Coast Grill and Twisted Taco opened in the nearby area.
"I love the business and I love Suwanee. To leave us in the lurch hurt greatly."
NOTE: Previous references in this post to landlord Madison Retail have been deleted. Madison Retail did not propose converting the case to Chapter 7 liquidation.
-- What do you think will happen to the Suwanee Olde Towne location? Share your thoughts in the comments below.