The Greene evicts one of its own restaurants

Retail center took action so it could return eatery to its former owners, general manager says

The Greene Town Center is evicting one of its own restaurants and is attempting to return the eatery to its former owners.

>>INSIDE LOOK: Choe’s Asian Gourmet restaurant

A lawsuit filed by The Greene’s owner seeks forcible entry into Choe’s Asian Gourmet restaurant at 4394 Juniper Way, which hasn’t served customers for several weeks and which has a sign taped to the door that says simply, “Temporarily Closed.”

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The lawsuit filed in Nov. 21 in Greene County Common Pleas Court claimed that the limited liability corporation that was operating Choe’s Asian Gourmet owed more than $49,000 in rent and utilities that had accumulated since July. A “notice to vacate” was delivered to the restaurant eight days earlier, notifying the restaurant operators that eviction proceedings could be filed unless the arrears were paid within three days.

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“It’s an unusual set of circumstances,” Steve Willshaw, general manager of The Greene, told this news outlet Wednesday afternoon. “We took the restaurant back so the former owners could take it back over. They will be doing some remodeling and changing the name. It’s a very, very good thing.”

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Greene County Common Pleas Judge Michael Buckwalter ruled in December that the restaurant’s operators had violated the lease agreement and awarded The Greene full access to the property. The action was taken after the restaurant’s operators failed to respond in a timely manner to the lawsuit.

However, Dayton attorney Eugene Robinson has now entered the case representing the restaurant’s operators, and two weeks ago, on Jan. 18, Robinson asked the judge for additional time to respond to the lawsuit on behalf of his clients. No decision on that request has been made.

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Robinson declined to comment on the case on Wednesday afternoon.

A woman who said her first name is Ann but who declined to give her last name — and who said she was the manager of the restaurant — said in a phone interview that business was slow in part because foot traffic is down in the restaurant’s section of The Greene. Choe’s is located on the eastern side of The Greene, near the Von Maur department store. She said she attempted to re-negotiate the terms of her lease but instead was ordered to vacate.

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Greene County Public Health records show that restaurant inspectors were at Choe’s several times in the second half of 2017 and reported multiple violations of food handling, storage and cleanliness guidelines. But health department officials said the problems had not escalated to the point where the restaurant was being threatened with shutdown.

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The Choe’s manager said some of the restaurant’s problems stemmed from a disgruntled former employee.

The health department has classified the restaurant as closed, health officials said. The lawsuit is still pending in Greene County Common Pleas Court.

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