WESTFIELD, NJ — A judge has ordered Addams Tavern at 115 Elm St. downtown to close as of Friday, Dec. 15, and not re-open without further court order.
Superior Court Judge Katherine Dupuis wrote that the court is convinced based on the testimony of four expert witnesses that the building is not compliant with the applicable building code, and that the court finds that there is substantial likelihood of damage to the building and public safety.
“Both sides will suffer hardship,” Judge Dupuis wrote. “The hardships the defendant will face will be harm to the Harvest Group and Addams Tavern’s good name, loss of revenue from being shut down and 55 employees being unemployed during the holiday season and into the New Year. Harvest has been on notice of the structural issues at least since the Plaintiff began the suit on August 17, 2016. A plan to repair the deficiencies has yet to be developed.”
The hardships that the plaintiff, landlord Tarta Luna Properties, LLC, face include damage to their building and the public at large, according to the judge.
“Public safety is of upmost importance and causes the balance of hardships to weigh in favor of the Plaintiff,” Judge Dupuis wrote.
Other issues from the complaint filed by the landlord are being reserved for a future trial, including handicap access and if rent should be calculated by the square footage in the lease or the square footage that the restaurant now occupies after renovations.
In a letter Wednesday, Chip Grabowski, CEO of Harvest Restaurants, called the situation “unfortunate” and said that the restaurant will begin construction.
In his letter, Grabowski said that the employees of Addams Tavern have been moved to other Harvest Restaurants to ensure that none of their team members would be unemployed during the holiday season.
“We are grateful for the understanding of all whose holiday events/reservations have been rebooked at other Harvest venues, and we continue to reach out to every guest with this news,” Grabowski wrote. He said to be on the lookout for further information about their grand-reopening. To read the entire letter, click here.