Fan restaurant faces eviction

Jorge's Cantina in the Fan has been closed since the summer. Photos by Michael Thompson.

Jorge’s Cantina in the Fan has been closed since the summer. Photos by Michael Thompson.

Behind on their rent and with their landlord trying to evict, a group of local restaurant owners have closed up a Fan eatery after less than two years in business.

Jorge’s Cantina, a restaurant at 2526 Floyd Ave. owned by Jake Crocker, Hayden Fisher, and Jose Garcia, is closed for good, Crocker said Wednesday.

The property’s landlord has gone to court to try to collect damages of about $30,000 for unpaid rent.

Bandazian & Hughes, the real estate firm that manages the Jorge’s Cantina property, changed the locks last week. The property is up for sale or lease.

Jorge’s opened in spring 2013, but closed this July because business was slow, the building needed repairs, and the restaurant had to find more parking spaces to comply with city ordinances for restaurants, Crocker said.

Jorge’s had leased five parking spaces from nearby office buildings on Floyd Avenue but lost them to a residential development called Citizen 6. Crocker said the loss of parking put Jorge’s Cantina below the number of spaces required for a restaurant by the city.

“I lost my parking lot,” he said. “Once they broke ground on Citizen 6, we were instantly in violation of zoning.”

“We fell behind on rent because we have to generate revenue. We knew we were behind, but we knew we could catch up if we could find a solution to the parking.”

Crocker said rent was paid up until April or May, but he was unable to find replacement parking spots.

Crocker, Fisher and Garcia were named as defendants in Richmond General District Court filings made by Jorge’s landlord Eight Dragons LLC seeking a judgment to declare that the restaurateurs are unlawfully occupying the property.

The filing, known as an unlawful detainer, is a typical step in the legal process that allows a landlord to evict a tenant.

“It’s just a process, it’s no big deal,” Crocker said. “I’m supportive of these guys.”

Chios Inc. is also named as a defendant in the judgment. Chios’ principal office is the Jorge’s Cantina property, and its registered agent is Hayden Fisher, according to a public record.

No one from Eight Dragons would comment on the Jorge’s property. Eddie Whitlock of Glen Allen law firm Lafayette Ayers & Whitlock is representing Eight Dragons. He also declined to comment.

A court hearing on the matter is set for Oct. 22, records show.

Crocker said there are no set plans to reopen Jorge’s in a new location.

Crocker, Fisher and Garcia still have other ventures up and running. Crocker and Fisher own F.W. Sullivan’s in the Fan and Haxall Point downtown. Crocker also is a part owner of Lady N’Awlins Cajun Café and Uptown Market & Deli. Garcia helped launch Mexico Restaurant, which has six locations in the area.

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7 Comments on "Fan restaurant faces eviction"

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Brian Ezzelle

I believe that when this restaurant originally opened there was a lot of complaints from nearby residences due to the late night hours they were to be open and the noise, etc. It appears the market solved that problem.

Carter Snipes

I live a few blocks away, and these guys ran a totally respectable establishment and did not have any more noise than any other Robinson St bar or restaurant. The city and residents really need to be more supportive and realistic about parking and hours of operation if they want local neighborhood businesses to survive. This neighborhood was designed as a pedestrian oriented area. If you impose suburban style zoning and parking regs, it willl drive these businesses away. Now this building is likely to sit vacant, because what can you put there without a parking or business hours exception?

Mike Jasp
I am very familiar with this block and agree there was no more noise here than anywhere else on Robinson. However, they make it sound like the business would be able to pay rent/survive if they only got parking spots. I dont believe this is true. Day time patrons can find parking on the street or in other nearby lots and the night crowd is mostly walking and visiting other places up and down the block, or the Museum, etc… Ive eaten here – found it to be on par with the other trendy “authentic” mexican places new to town.… Read more »
Bob Mon
Retreat Hospital has parking spaces for lease that are closer to Jorge’s than the old Floyd Ave alley lot, so I’m not buying the parking excuse. Carter, the SUP on the property has no restrictions on business hours. None. Reports with quotes from the owner that surfaced a few months ago when the doors closed indicated that business was just slow and this may be the case for more than a few Fan bars. Regarding the first comment, there were no neighbor complaints at all regarding Jorge’s. I’d look at Crocker and Fisher’s empire as a whole here before making… Read more »
Macy Gordon

Is it just me or does it seem every time these guys have a problem there is always someone else to blame??? It’s never on them.

Jesse Clark

Was it the parking requirements or the consistently sub-par service? Just asking…

Mark Moreno
It is always unfortunate to hear that another independent restaurant is forced to close. My heart always goes out to the employees that are forced to scramble for a job when the business closes. The restaurant business is a very competitive business facing many challenges and a large percentage of new independent restaurants struggle to survive past their third year. In many ways, concepts like Jorge’s are essentially experiments and while all experiments are not always successful a lot can be learned from the endeavor. For it’s part, Jorge’s appeared to have some very good marketing but was apparently not… Read more »