SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Colonia native Kelli Capurso, 23, was, like any bride, looking forward to her wedding reception. She married her husband, Anthony, in August 2019, but postponed her reception until 2020 until after he returned from his deployment with the Marines. COVID put a wrench into their plans, and the couple had to cancel their celebration at one catering hall and booked instead with Snuffy's Pantagis Renaissance in Scotch Plains in early October for a December 6 event.
On Tuesday, she received a phone call that any bride would dread: her venue -- the second one she had booked -- abruptly closed its doors on October 20. The owners of Snuffy's did not contact her directly; they have hired an outside agency to inform people that they will be unable to host their events. Worse yet, the employees of Snuffy's, some of whom had worked for the catering hall for decades, discovered they had lost their jobs because their keys no longer worked.
"It's a lie," Nick Pantagis told TAPintoSPF on Wednesday, when asked whether Snuffy's Pantagis Renaissance had closed. "Someone in my family was fired from the business and began starting rumors that we were closing. Everyone has a big mouth."
Pantagis also told TAPinto that he had parties booked into next month, including an event this past Saturday, which did not take place. The doors are locked, the lights are off, and the parking lot was empty on Oct. 24.
"I'm devastated to learn he said they are open," Kelli said in a phone interview with TAPinto on Sunday, Oct. 25. "That lie isn't benefiting anyone. "They couldn't even call themselves. I booked it in early October and was literally there last Saturday."
"Two of my uncles had their weddings there. It's devastating," added Kelli, who now lives in Wilmington, NC. "To see it go under like this, to not own up to their mistakes... it's disturbing. I had time to book another venue (Gallping Hill). What did people do who had events scheduled for this weekend?"
Signs of Snuffy's demise have been visible for a while, and the writing was on the wall - figuratively and literally. Snuffy's Facebook page has not been updated since August 29, and the website listed on that Facebook page, http://pantagis.com/restaurant.html, is no longer valid. Nor is the website listed on Nick Pantagis' own business card (www.weddingsatpantagis.com). Calls to the establishment go to an automated phone answering system.
Less than a year ago, the Scotch Plains Township Council approved a plan for the development of a Lidl supermarket at the Snuffy's site. Despite the public presentation at a Township Council meeting at which designs for the proposed Lidl location were displayed, the catering hall continued to book events.
Apparently, the deal fell through, and Pantagis told TAPinto on Wednesday that he has been dealing with multiple developers to rent or sell the property. He also claimed that these deals fell through and because of rumors spread by Scotch Plains Mayor Al Smith.
"What I can tell you is that a redevelopment plan that was submitted by Lidl, and the Council approved it. The plan called for a supermarket, 51 parking spaces for park-and-ride, and some development of the property," Mayor Smith said. "Whether it is Lidl or another developer, we'll be happy to work with them and move the town forward."
Meanwhile, Township of Scotch Plains records show that the business owes the town more than $389,000 in back taxes for 2019, and if they are not paid by the Nov. 17, the property will go up for auction. A public notice was posted in the most recent issue of the Scotch Plains Times.
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