MOUNT VERNON — Employees at Ryan’s Steakhouse on Coshocton Avenue are looking for some answers concerning their employment status after a real estate website recently surfaced stating the restaurant was up for lease.
Appearing on a website of NAI Ohio Equities was an advertisement for the lease of 1485 Coshocton Ave., which has been the site of Ryan’s Steakhouse since 1996. The advertisement stated that the property “will be vacated on Oct. 1, 2012.” Also included in the notes about the property were instructions for potential lessors to “please be discrete as employees are unaware of pending closure.”
Employees were reportedly not informed of any plans to close the restaurant, including general manager Steve Messenger.
“You know as much as I do,” said Messenger when asked about any plans to close the restaurant. Messenger also contacted his district manager who was also not informed of any changes.
Ryan’s is owned by Buffets Inc. of Eagan, Minn., which owns numerous buffet restaurant chains including Hometown Buffet, Old Country Buffet and Fire Mountain. They have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on more than one occasion and have closed down numerous other restaurants.
Buffets Inc. corporate office was contacted for comment, but representatives deferred comment to a public relations firm, CooperKatz and Co. Buffets and CooperKatz each failed to return further phone calls on Monday and Tuesday.
Realty Income Corp. of Escondido, Calif., was identified as the owner of the property. Representatives declined to comment when contacted. Realtors with NAI Ohio Equities also have not returned phone calls.
“It’s kind of what I expected of Buffets Inc.,” said part-time employee Lyndol White of not being informed of a possible closure. “It’s my understanding from other restaurants of theirs, which have been closed, that it literally happens one day as soon as you show up.”
“I am totally disappointed,” said Jack Raines of Utica, who is a frequent patron of the restaurant. “I can’t believe that they would treat their employees and their managers that way. That’s not the right way to do it.”
Messenger said he is just waiting to see what transpires each day, hoping that Buffets Inc. can renew their lease.