Make us your home page
Instagram

Arigato Japanese Steak House files for Chapter 11 protection

Chef Q Nguyen prepares a flaming Japanese meal at Arigato Japanese Steak House in St. Petersburg, which will remain open.

WILLIE J. ALLEN JR. | Times (2007)

Chef Q Nguyen prepares a flaming Japanese meal at Arigato Japanese Steak House in St. Petersburg, which will remain open.

After 30 years in the Tampa Bay area, Arigato Japanese Steak House Inc. sought bankruptcy protection Wednesday. The company blamed slowed sales and a fire that closed its Tampa location.

"We just need a little bit of time," said Dale Del Bello, president and owner of the company.

Del Bello founded the chain in upstate New York in 1971, and opened his first Florida restaurant in 1978. He sold off the New York restaurants to focus on Florida, opening locations in Clearwater, St. Petersburg and Tampa.

The Clearwater and St. Petersburg Arigato locations, which employ more than 110 people combined, will remain open as the company tries to restructure its debts under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The company started having cash-flow problems after a December 2006 fire closed its restaurant on N Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa.

With the closing, the chain lost a third of its income, or about $600,000 a year in profits, Del Bello said. He has been trying to rebuild at a nearby location, but said the insurance company has been slow to pay his claim and still owes him $100,000.

"The insurance company just hasn't been there to help like they're supposed to," he said.

The company listed $760,000 in debts, including $98,000 in overdue taxes. Del Bello said he's confident that he can stabilize the company and weather the gloomy economy once the Tampa location opens and the tourist season begins.

This month he pulled out of a deal to open an aviation-themed restaurant at Albert Whitted Airport, citing the troubled economy and the Tampa Bay Rays' failed downtown stadium plan.

"The strength of the better restaurants will come through, and we've been here for 30 years," he said. "I think we'll be fine. I know we'll be fine."

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Asjylyn Loder can be reached at aloder@sptimes.com or (813) 225-3117.

Arigato Japanese Steak House files for Chapter 11 protection 09/25/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 2, 2008 10:45am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa Club president seeks assessment fee from members

    News

    TAMPA — The president of the Tampa Club said he asked members last month to pay an additional assessment fee to provide "additional revenue." However, Ron Licata said Friday that the downtown business group is not in a dire financial situation.

    Ron Licata, president of the Tampa Club in downtown Tampa. [Tampa Club]
  2. Under Republican health care bill, Florida must make up $7.5 billion

    Markets

    If a Senate bill called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 becomes law, Florida's government would need to make up about $7.5 billion to maintain its current health care system. The bill, which is one of the Republican Party's long-promised answers to the Affordable Care Act imposes a cap on funding per enrollee …

    Florida would need to cover $7.5 billion to keep its health care program under the Republican-proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.  [Times file photo]
  3. Amid U.S. real estate buying binge by foreign investors, Florida remains first choice

    Real Estate

    Foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate recently skyrocketed to a new high with nearly half of all foreign sales happening in Florida, California and Texas.

    A National Association of Realtors annual survey found record volume and activity by foreign buyers of U.S. real estate. Florida had the highest foreign investment activity, followed by California and Texas. [National Association of Realtors]
  4. Trigaux: Tampa Bay health care leaders wary of getting too far ahead in disruptive times

    Business

    Are attempts to repeal Obamacare dead for the foreseeable future? Might the Affordable Care Act (ACA), now in dire limbo, be revived? Will Medicaid coverage for the most in need be gutted? Can Republicans now in charge of the White House, Senate and House ever agree to deliver a substitute health care plan that people …

    Natalia Ricabal of Lutz, 12 years old, joined other pediatric cancer patients in Washington in July to urge Congress to protect Medicaid coverage that helped patients like Ricabal fight cancer. She was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma in 2013 and has undergone extensive treatments at BayCare's St. Joseph's Children's Hospital in Tampa. [Courtesy of BayCare]
  5. The Iron Yard coding academy to close in St. Petersburg

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Iron Yard, a code-writing academy with a location in downtown St. Petersburg, will close for good this summer.

    Instructors (from left) Mark Dewey, Jason Perry, and Gavin Stark greet the audience at The Iron Yard, 260 1st Ave. S, in St. Petersburg during "Demo Day" Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, at The Iron Yard, which is an immersive code school that is part of a trend of trying to address the shortage of programmers.  The academy is closing this summer.  [LARA CERRI   |   Times]