Published on October 6th, 2015 |1
Here To Serve group shuts down all Buckhead, Atlanta restaurants
The group has operated: Coast, Prime, Twist, Cantina and Aja (which closed in September) in Buckhead; three Noche restaurants (including in Brookhaven and Vinings), Strip, Twist, Shucks, Smash and Goldfish, which it closed in May at Perimeter Mall after 15 years.
A statement on the group’s website says: “We apologize for the inconvenience. We are working on reorganization. Hopefully we will be HERE TO SERVE you again soon!”
Jimmy Meas, executive sushi chef at Here To Serve since 1996, told WSB Radio that workers who reported to Twist on Monday were tearful as operations at several restaurants shut down before the dinner rush. He said there was concern among workers because payday was Friday, Oct. 2, but no one had been paid.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that some staffers were worried they wouldn’t get paid because their checks had been delayed so far.
An e-mail from H2SR president & CEO Leigh Catherall on Monday expressed regret about late paychecks and said the company was working to resolve the matter.
An email obtained by WXIA-TV says paychecks are on the way. In the email, Here to Serve Director of Operations Phil Handley says workers will get checks Wednesday (Oct. 7) after 3:00 pm.
“Checks are being issued without any tax deductions being made,” the email said. “We are doing this because we do not have the capacity for withholding any taxes. We also do not have 100% of gross payroll covered. We hope that the lack of tax withholding will make up the difference.”
Another email sent by the company said Here to Serve has lost its employee compensation insurance and cannot open, according to WXIA-TV.
The closures came after Leigh Catherall took over as chief executive officer of the company as part of a divorce settlement with Atlanta master chef Tom Catherall earlier this year.
The AJC also speculated the closings may be the result of a federal lawsuit against Here To Serve filed by Simon Property Group, the owners of Buckhead’s Phipps Plaza and Lenox Square malls, who wanted the restaurants evicted over claims of a contract breach. That suit was recently settled.