, a Chinese and Japanese restaurant in open since the mid-1990’s, has apparently been abandoned by its owners, according to a representative from Cord Meyer Company LLC, the property’s landlord.
“They decided to leave,” said Anthony Colletti, Chief Operating Officer of Cord Meyer. “They said that business was failing and they could not do it anymore.”
A lengthy memorandum taped to the property’s papered-up windows states that Tofu’s owners, Wing Fo Brothers Corp., has defaulted in payments of their monthly rent, $24,332, and other fees, since Sept. 1, 2010. The total owed between then and Dec. 30 is $104,904.38.
According to Colletti, it was discovered that the restaurant was closed on the afternoon of Jan. 10. “We have a policy with our staff in Bayside to report any store that’s not open,” he said. “Someone [from Cord Meyer] contacted their staff and they told us on the telephone that their business was failing.”
At the same time, representatives from Cord Meyer had to enter the property because of a flooding situation. While inside, it was discovered that food had been left out and needed to be cleared. After securing the premises, they began the process to legally take repossession of the property.
While the memo taped to the window asserts that the property was to be surrendered to the landlord if continued to go unpaid after Dec. 30, Colletti said that they did not evict the restaurant and this is the way for Cord Meyer to legally take the property back. “Technically, we don’t have legal possession,” he said. “If we don’t go about the eviction process, we can go about this for months. The community is not being served and we can’t do anything with it.”
In the past, Tofu had been shut down by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene after failing inspections. An inspection on December 22, 2010 would have graded the restaurant a “B," finding 27 violation points according to the DOH’s restaurant inspection website, including raw, cooked or prepared foods being “contaminated, cross-contaminated, or not discarded in accordance with HACCP plan.”
An inspection on Nov. 9, 2010 found 32 violation points, a grade of “C,” including evidence of mice “in the facility’s food and/or non-food areas.” An inspection on July 1, 2008 found 60 violation points, including the usage of tobacco in the “food preparation, food storage or dishwashing area.”
Ultimately, Colletti is saddened by the restaurant’s sudden departure. “We didn’t want them to go, especially in this economy,” he said. “They were very good people, we didn’t have a problem with them, and we tried very hard to keep them there.”
No contact information for Wing Fo Brothers Corp. was available and according to the notice on the restaurant’s window, the petitioner, Cord Meyer, has no written information as to where members of Wing Fo Brothers Corp. reside, are employed, or have any places of business or offices in New York State besides this property.
Editor's Note: The original version of this story cited a New York State agency for information on Tofu's health inspections, when in fact the information came from the City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.