Brighton barbecue and blues venue Smoken' Joe's has been closed since late October due to damage from a water main break. The restaurant plans to reopen this Friday, according to Facebook, and the owners have also been taking to the social media channel to share information about their ongoing trouble with the landlord.
"I prefer not to go into detail in a public forum," writes 'Smoken' Wendy' on Facebook—and then proceeds to go into detail on a public forum. "But please rest assured we have no intention of going out of business. Joe and I have our life savings in the business and we won't be walking away from it. This is the pursuit of a dream we have had for a long time and we will be fighting to keep it. We never told the landlord we will not pay rent, all we said was that once we are open we wanted to sit down and negotiate what rent is due and what damages to our business should be compensated. Their refusal to even discuss it will not play very well in front of a judge. Meanwhile we have put the rent into escrow.This referenced an earlier post, which indicated that the landlord wanted rent for the time that Smoken' Joe's had to be closed, they wanted a discussion about what they actually owed and whether they'd be compensated for lost income due to the damages, and the landlord apparently responded with an eviction notice.
Whether we end up moving somewhere else or working something out is up in the air right now. We have always played by the rules and had a great relationship with our guests, the neighborhood, and the city. Our landlord has earned a reputation for cutting corners, trying to sneak past permits and responsibilities, and has very little good will in the community. All we want is to be treated fairly. I still hold out hope the landlord will come to the table. Although we have retained counsel, it is for the purpose of understanding our rights under the law. Negotiation is (almost) always the best way to start."
Many regulars wanted to know how to help, and Wendy continued, "The best way to support us is to come down and enjoy yourselves. Joe is back in the kitchen and the rest of December is booked. Our business is hurt but the best way to heal is to be back in business and flourishing." Peter Ward & the Electric Blues kicks off Friday's reopening, and plenty of other live music is being scheduled through the rest of the month.
· Smoken' Joe's BBQ & Blues [FB]
· All coverage of Smoken' Joe's on Eater [~EBOS~]