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Batavia's South Beach restaurant closed abruptly and without warning

By Philip Anselmo

About a dozen waitresses, cooks and other staff of Batavia's South Beach gathered in the parking lot outside the restaurant this morning after they had each picked up the "last" check. South Beach was closed. They found out yesterday.

One of the restaurant's former managers says that she saw the owners, Alex and Barbara Giuliani, emptying the place out and packing up trucks Sunday. She started texting her colleagues that afternoon. Soon after, everyone got the call: Come by Monday morning at 9:30 a.m. to pick up your check.

The only message to customers was written on a piece of paper, taped to the door: "We're sorry folks but due to economic conditions Southbeach will have to close its doors effective today until further notice. From all of us here at the beach, we thank you for your patronage."

Several waitresses on scene told us that they had worked Saturday evening, and the owners were still selling gift certificates. When they left that night, they all thought they were coming back to work Monday.

Some say the owners took off for Florida. Neither of the owners were on scene. Instead, inside, Alex Giuliani's grandson, Jason, passed out the checks. Jason Giuliani had worked at South Beach as a manager.

Arlana Pathammavong authored a post about the closing of the restaurant on The Batavian late last night. We will see what other information when we can gather.

Jason Giuliani

I feel I have to say something in defense of my grandfather. First, when the decision was made to close, we took the names and addresses of everyone who bought gift certificates. Today I mailed all of the money back to those people. Alex would not sell gift certificates and keep the money knowing that he was leaving. That's not in his nature. Also, as I was handing out the checks I overheard an employee, and I quote "I wish I knew he was closing, I wouldn't have rang anything up!" That's exactly why we couldn't tell anyone. People would have stole, and if they even showed up for work our last week, they wouldn't have been very happy. We're very sorry things turned out this way. Alex put his heart and soul into South Beach and Phillip, I'm very surprised you'd publish this story without talking to all the parties involved.

Feb 2, 2009, 1:13pm Permalink
Philip Anselmo

Jason: I want to speak with Alex. Could you please provide me with his contact information?

You or he can call me at (585) 802-3032. Or send me an e-mail at philip (at) thebatavian (dot) com. Please do.

Feb 2, 2009, 1:18pm Permalink
Frank D'Angelo

I hope it is true about the gift certificates. I bought a $50.00 gift certificate awhile back that I have not yet used. I bought it for my Mom, who was looking forward to better weather before using it. I do not remember giving a name and address when I bought it. I assumed I was just out of luck.......if it is covered, that would be a class thing to do.

It is too bad about South Beach......I really liked the place.

Feb 2, 2009, 1:32pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Jason, thanks for leaving your comment. One of the great advantages of web publishing is that no story is necessarily ever finished and all parties have a chance to have their say.

That's often way we publish information as it becomes available and fill in details later as those become available. Our readers are smart, check back frequently and will get the full story as it gets fleshed out.

Yes, we would be very interested in hearing from your grandfather if he would take the time to talk with Philip.

At least for now, thanks for filling in some of the backstory to what happened.

Feb 2, 2009, 1:40pm Permalink
Gabor Deutsch

I agree with Jason. Businesses must protect themselves and are under no legal obligation to pre-warnings or announcements for many reasons that he clearly stated. I found it odd to see former employees standing in front of a van with several storage totes. Did they all have offices and personal belongings to haul away or are they paid in pennies ?

Feb 2, 2009, 2:02pm Permalink
Beth Kinsley

Jason, you say "when the decision was made to close, we took the names and addresses of everyone who bought gift certificates. Today I mailed all of the money back to those people. " It seems that instead of selling gift certificates right up until their last night, it would have made more sense to stop selling them once they knew they were going to close. All they had to say is that they were out of gift certificates. Are they going to reimburse everyone for their unused gift certificates or only the people whose names and addresses they took down when they sold them gift certificates knowing full well that they were closing?

Feb 2, 2009, 2:04pm Permalink
Dan Kemp

whether they were not obligated to announce the closing of the restaurant or not

it would of been nice for the employees and there families to prepare for the situation

i don't think that was very professional to do

they could of at least lived up to there decision instead of bolting and having someone else do the dirty work

to the employees..i would make sure they paid your withholdings to the government

FRANK it seems your out $50.00

how many restaurants do you see ask for one's name and address when purchasing a gift certificate?

EMPLOYEE'S...i apologize that you had to loose your jobs this way....GOOD LUCK

Feb 2, 2009, 2:42pm Permalink
Irene Will

Doesn't anyone else remember that this is the SECOND time Alex Giuliani has done this??? He had the Tijuana Lounge back in the 70's, and did the same thing - filed bankruptcy to the tune of $180,000 plus and left town. Nobody who knew him THEN is surprised.

Feb 2, 2009, 2:59pm Permalink
jamie palaszynski

I think when you people knew you were closing, you should have acted like warm blooded human beings, and told the employees. You People only thought of yourselves. You all were sneaky, and you know it. It makes me sick that you act like you worked with a bunch of shady thieves that wouldn't show up to work, shame on you. The only people that have shown VERY POOR character in this situation is you and you family. I know that I personally would have had nothing but sympathy for Alex and Barb, I would have stuck it out till the end. I would have been grateful for the warning. I, like everyone else wasn't given the opportunity. Some people do the right thing, and CLEARLY some people don't.
To everyone else, it was a pleasure to work with every one of you this past year, I wish you all the best.

Feb 2, 2009, 4:38pm Permalink
Jason Giuliani

I dont want to turn this into a mudslinging match, which clearly Irene and Jamie want to do. Alex and Barbara left here in tears, having lost everything they have. He always thinking with his heart and not his head. The place was going to be sold, but the deal fell through. That left us no choice, and the decision to close was only made a week ago. Jamie, the fact of the matter is, employees steal. Maybe you don't and that's great. Alot do, and I heard what I heard. I'm sorry you're out of work. I'm out of work myself with 2 baby boys. We can find jobs, but Alex and Barbara can't replace what they lost. How quick people are to kick somebody when they're down.

Feb 2, 2009, 5:42pm Permalink
Mark Potwora

If you issue gift cert. and not make good on them is that stealing...Why didn't Alex stick around to today and explain
this to his employees..

Feb 2, 2009, 5:46pm Permalink
Jason Giuliani

Posted by Tina Rose about 21 minutes ago
Long time Batavia Restaurant Owners comes to aid:

Local family owned Sunnys Restaurant in the Batavia City Centre is stepping in to honor Gift Certificates.
Anyone who has purchased or recieved a Southbeach Gift Cert.- Sunnys owners Michael and Tina Rose will honor at their Restaurant. In these tough economic times no one wants or can afford to lose money. Simply give us a call at 343-4578 or stop in.

*some restrictions may apply*

Feb 2, 2009, 6:23pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Jason, you've done an admirable job of bringing some family perspective to this situation.

The sudden closing of the business and its apparent secrecy raises many questions. However, I think it's fair to note that it's hard to believe that in just two years Alex recouped his investment in South Beach. It was a first-class operation and no doubt took a good deal of cash just to get the doors open.

It's a shame things didn't work out, but without seeming to pass judgment on your grandfather, as the son of a life-long retail food business owner, I think there were better ways to handle the situation. My heart goes out to the former employees.

Feb 2, 2009, 7:24pm Permalink
Irene Will

PLEASE keep in mind - any restaurant that honors the South Beach gift certificates will be LOSING MONEY - they will NOT be reimbursed ONE DIME. The money that was PAID for those gifts is GONE. When Jason tells you that you can use them elsewhere now that South Beach is closed, it is ONLY because the owners of the OTHER restaurants CARE - not because any provision has been made by South Beach, or Alex, or Jason. It is ENTIRELY OUT OF THE KINDNESS OF THE OWNERS OF Sunny's, the Smokehouse, and Alex's[former]Place and any other restaurant that follows suit that these customers will get ANYthing back at ALL on the money that was spent. These people CARE.

Feb 3, 2009, 1:45am Permalink
Nikki Kohlhagen

Hi as a former employee of Southbeach that just lost my job when Alex closed the doors of the restaurant, I just want to say thank you to all the owners of the restaurants excepting our gift certificates. Also a special thanks to center street for offering us a application, if you do hire any of Southbeach crew they will be a great asset to you.I couldn't ask for better people to work with. I am so proud to here that there are really honest and great people out there. All I have to say is Gail it might only be a waitressing or bartending job to you but to me it is a great experiance to work with the public. i really enjoy the resturant business, it is a vary hard job for people to do but i love what i do. It is upsetting to me that whole time you being nice to us at the restaurant you were really just looking down at us. I hope all goes well with the employees of southbeach. It was a amazing time with all of you. And I will walk out of there with great memories!

Feb 3, 2009, 10:56am Permalink
Dan Kemp


it's not your job to sit here and answer questions.

like i have said on other topics on this site

tell alex to man up and explain things himself

Feb 3, 2009, 11:22am Permalink
Debra Nanni

I have been a bartender for over 20 years. The first thing an owner always says when he/she fails for whatever reason is "the employee(s) were stealing. It's the easiest person to blame, due to the nature of the business. I say it seems to me the real theif here is the one who would sell a gift certificate on a Saturday night, knowing you were not going to be open the next day. My co-worker bought one Saturday evening and was NEVER asked for a name , address of phone#. So tell me, when should she expect her money????? And another thing, most people I know who have "LOST EVERYTHING!!" do NOT get to go back to sunny Florida!!, and leave the dirty work to others. That's not how a good business person operates.

Feb 4, 2009, 11:28am Permalink
christopher clark

This is for Jason Guiliani since he is the only one to speak to. I have purchased a gift certificate using my visa for $70.00 When i purchased it your grandfather did not take my name and address so how would i get my money back.You stated that your family had to close that way to avoid theft. Well your granfather is a thief if he does not return the money he took from hard working people including myself.I can be reached at my e-mail to give you my info for a refund if i dont recieve one then i only can come to the conclusion that your family are thieves the same kind of people you used for an excuse to close the way you did.I hope you make things right for me and the others.

Feb 4, 2009, 9:54pm Permalink
Karen Miconi

Jay only a few people would have ripped alex off. I know who they are and I hope they can't sleep at nite. I am so honest I even admitted I forgot to charge the costomer for something, and gave you 8 dollors friday nite. I am really pissed off at gail right now, and if her comments affect my ability to find a job, after 13 and a half years with this family then she better get ready for a liable suit!!

Feb 6, 2009, 9:06am Permalink

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