ROXBURY, NJ - Legends Ale House, a sports bar and restaurant in Succasunna, closed its doors last week, a demise that came less than three years after it opened for business.
The closing came as a surprise to employees, according to Jackie Sannipoli, a Roxbury resident who worked there as a waitress. She said restaurant manager Lora Caldi texted the staff on Oct. 22 to tell them the restaurant would be closed that day for maintenance.
“I contacted her that afternoon to ask if we’d be closed Tuesday,” Sannipoli said. “Tuesday I got a text saying the restaurant was officially closed down.”
Neither Caldi nor co-owner Andrew Dering returned messages seeking comment. However, comments by Caldi on the establishment’s Facebook page indicate she, too, was surprised by the closure.
“Yep changed the locks and closed down … no notice (to employees),” she wrote.
Legends Ale House’s financial troubles were not a secret to staffers. At one point, its owners briefly put the place - situated in Roxbury Mall - up for sale. They also changed its hours, eliminating lunchtime sales by delaying daily opening until 3 p.m.
Sannipoli said she spoke to Gering last week, after the closure was announced, and complained about the way it was handled. “He said he just couldn’t afford it and just closed the doors,” she said. “That’s the only explanation I got … He just said he was sorry it didn’t work out, that there was nothing they could do, that they were financially strapped.”
She said Gering’s partner told her he “never made a dime” from the business.
The closing was costly for Country Comfort, a band that was booked to play Legends Ale House on Saturday night. Band leader Dan Altana said he didn’t know the gig was canceled until Wednesday morning when he got a text message from Caldi who told him she went to work that day and found the locks changed.
“I tried calling the restaurant Wednesday afternoon to make sure it was legit,” Altana said. “The phone was disconnected.”
He said the sudden closure left his band unable to book another gig for Saturday night.
“It was a place the band liked playing,” Altana said. “I was actually getting ready to talk to Lora about us doing an exclusive thing there.”
Legends Ale House opened for business in the summer of 2016 and had a formal ribbon cutting in January 2017. It took over a space formerly occupied by an Italian restaurant that replaced a Bensi restaurant that had replaced Luigi’s, another Italian eatery which still operates a pizza shop at the mall.
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