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.