Editor's Note: This story has been updated.
YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Centrale Italian Kitchen and Bar abruptly closed its doors earlier this month, just several months after opening in Yorktown’s Triangle Center. The swift exit reportedly surprised the owner of the Triangle Center, who now plans on bringing a lawsuit against the restaurant’s owner.
Adam Brodsky, general counsel for the owner of the property, EK Triangle LLC, said his company invested nearly a half-million dollars in Centrale, which leased the space in November 2016. Customers who had purchased gift certificates and paid deposits to reserve space also lost their money, said Brodsky.
“A few weeks ago in the middle of the night, they closed up shop, they disappeared,” Brodsky said. “The money for their deposits disappeared and we lost a fortune. We’re, to say the least, not happy. We’re incredibly disappointed and, truthfully, just hurt.”
Brodsky was the signatory on Centrale's checking account and his company was also an investor, he said. Brodsky said his company will bring litigation against owner Robert Bellissimo in an attempt to recoup the investment. He repeatedly called Bellissimo a “bad guy.”
Centrale celebrated its grand opening in late January with a large bash at the completely redesigned restaurant.
“It really looked nice and we all thought they were doing a good job, and then, in the middle of the night, they disappeared and stole a lot of equipment,” Brodsky said.
Bellissimo denied all of the allegations, saying Brodsky's comments about him are a “defamation of character.”
“He lied. He flat out lied. He lied,” Bellissimo said, adding that he was “simply an employee. I never had any control of the funds. I never had any signing power whatsoever.”
A 15-year-old employee of Centrale told Yorktown News that she and her co-workers were not notified prior to the restaurant closing. She said she was also not paid for her final two weeks.
Bellissimo said it was Brodsky who controlled the funds and signed employee checks. He said Brodsky was not paying vendors and is also the reason employees have not been paid and customers lost their deposits.
“He signs the checks, he's the one who has control of the accounts—I'm just the face of it,” Bellissimo said.
Bellissimo said he closed the restaurant because he “didn't feel comfortable” with his relationship with Brodsky and EK Triangle LLC.
“They're just not good people,” he said.
He also said the “half-million dollar investment” was mostly in infrastructure and nothing “tangible.”
“If anything, he's improving his building,” Bellissimo said.
Brodsky said that is not true and his company also made financial investments, which he claims Bellissimo “blew through.” He said it was also Bellissimo who made commitments to vendors.
“He can say whatever he likes but it's not true,” Brodsky said.
Brodsky said he was the signatory on the checking account, but that his company was nothing more than “passive investors.”
“We have no ownership in the company,” he said. “We were investors and that's why we were upset.”