Earlier today, The Batavian was informed that South Beach restaurant in Batavia had abruptly closed over the weekend, and the former employees—about 30 or so—were coming by to pick up their final checks. We spoke with some of the staff as they came and went. You can see our earlier post for those details.
Gail Giuliani phoned us a little while ago to say that her brother-in-law, Alex Giuliani, the restaurant's owner, "had to close" the business the way he did, without notifying the employees, for fear of theft. Gail told us that Alex has already moved back to his home in Florida and was likely not able to comment on the matter at this time.
"The reason they were not told was because Alex was advised not to tell them," she said. "Because when you tell people like that, they will steal from you."
One employee who went in to pick up her check today even said that had she known that the place was closing, she would not have "rung up" the meals. Jason Giuliani, Alex's grandson, was handing out the paychecks at the restaurant this morning when he overheard that comment, she said. Jason had worked as a manager at South Beach.
"Alex wrote a very very nice note to his employees and it says: 'To all my employees, today is a very sad for me.' And he went on and told them how he had to do it. And he left this letter on the bar when Jason went in today to give the employees their paychecks."
Alex and Barbara, his wife and co-owner of South Beach, were at the restaurant Sunday cleaning up, according to Gail, who was helping out. They were not there to "empty the place out," she said. "All the furniture is there. Everything is still in the building."
"One of the barmaids went by when we were cleaning that place," she continued. "We were there from eight o'clock in the morning to six o'clock at night. We scrubbed every cooler, every stove. I went back, cleaned all the bathrooms, cleaned all the rugs. We didn't want to leave it any other way. We had to take bags of food out of the place. This waitress happened to go by and saw all this stuff.... So she started text messaging everybody around, and before you know it... Jason's phone was ringing off the wall."
Gail says that she understands the workers might feel a little resentment, but that Alex had no choice in the matter. She said: "If Alex wasn't forced to do this, he would have never done this."
"It just irritates me," she continued. "The employee's are angry, but let's face it—bartenders and waitresses—is that a career? I'm sure they can find another job.... If you put yourself in that position: what would you do? Would you tell your employees that next week is going to be your last night? He was advised not tell his help. They just made it like my brother-in-law just up and left and he's a real rat. But people who know him, know that he's not like that. He's a charming man and a gentleman."