Make us your home page
Instagram

Beef 'O'Brady's threatened with eviction

Duncan Smith, dressed as a leprechaun, promotes Beef ‘O’Brady’s breakfasts along Fourth Street N in May. The owner of the restaurant said he probably will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy but keep the restaurant open.

MARTHA RIAL | Times

Duncan Smith, dressed as a leprechaun, promotes Beef ‘O’Brady’s breakfasts along Fourth Street N in May. The owner of the restaurant said he probably will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy but keep the restaurant open.

The economic downturn has hit Beef 'O'Brady's in St. Petersburg's Northeast Shopping Center. The restaurant's landlord, Publix Super Markets, has filed a lawsuit to evict the franchise for failing to pay rent.

James Tomko, owner of the restaurant, said he has been experiencing difficult financial times and probably will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The restaurant will remain open, he said.

"We're planning to restructure,'' he said.

Publix Super Markets alleges that the restaurant owes more than $21,000 in back rent. The lawsuit names T&T Beefs Inc., which does business as Beef 'O'Brady's, and franchise owners James Edward Tomko Jr. and Kimberly Earl Tomko.

Nick Vojnovic, president of the Beef 'O'Brady's chain, which has headquarters in Tampa, said James Tomko is the third owner of the Northeast Shopping Center franchise and had done well until recently.

"He has been under financial pressure,'' Vojnovic said. "For Beef's, the summers are the slowest time. We're hoping that we can kind of work through it and we can continue operating.''

Vojnovic said his corporate office would try to help Tomko by letting him defer royalty payments. He cited "tremendous pressure'' brought about by minimum- wage increases and higher food and fuel costs.

"It's the most difficult restaurant operating environment in the last 30 years. ... Sales are off,'' he said.

Vojnovic added that Florida, where the chain has 140 of its 259 restaurants, has been an even tougher environment for all restaurants because of the collapse of the housing market.

Tomko said he took over the store in the Northeast Shopping Center, at 37th Avenue N between Third and First streets, in June last year. He has spent large sums renovating the place and buying equipment, he said.

"We had to replace a lot of things,'' he said.

"We tried to work with Publix, and we're hoping to emerge from this stronger. We're not going to give up. Our sales have actually increased in this market, and part of that is cleaning up the facility. It's just a matter of trying to control costs in a way to become profitable.''

Publix spokeswoman Shannon Patten declined to comment on the case, saying the grocery chain considers the status of leases confidential.

Court documents show that the lease for the restaurant, at 226 37th Ave. N, was signed on Feb. 10, 2006. The Tomkos signed their agreement as guarantors on May 30, 2007.

Beef 'O'Brady's occupies 3,600 square feet in a section that was the home of Woolworth's before the shopping center was renovated in the late 1990s. Publix has been in the Northeast Shopping Center since 1959.

Beef 'O'Brady's has 55 restaurants in the Tampa Bay area and plans to open one at the TradeWinds Island Grand Beach Resort in St. Pete Beach this fall, Vojnovic said. The chain recently opened a restaurant at the University of South Florida in Tampa and another at a Best Western in Brandon. The strategy is to open restaurants at nontraditional sites, Vojnovic said. He added that Beef 'O'Brady's plans to open 50 restaurants this year.

Waveney Ann Moore can be reached at wmoore@sptimes.com or (727) 892-2283.

Beef 'O'Brady's threatened with eviction 10/07/08 [Last modified: Sunday, October 12, 2008 7:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa man pleads guilty to forging check for fake investment

    Personal Finance

    A Tampa resident was convicted Thursday for forging a check for a fake investment. The Florida Office of Financial Regulation said that Eric Franz Peer pleaded guilty. He served 11 months in jail and will have to pay $18,000.

  2. Minority business accelerator launch by Tampa chamber to aid black, Hispanic businesses

    Business

    A "minority business accelerator" program was launched Thursday by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce geared toward helping black and Hispanic business owners identify and overcome barriers to grow their companies. The accelerator, known as MBA, will provide participants with business tools to cultivate opportunities …

    Bemetra Simmons is a senior private banker at Wells Fargo, The Private Bank. She is also chair of the new minority business accelerator program for the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. [Photo, LinkedIn]
  3. Terrier Tri brings unique triathlon training to South Tampa

    Business

    Over a decade ago, Robert Pennino traded late nights in the music studio for early mornings in the Terrier Tri cycle studio.

    Terrier Tri, a cycling studio in South Tampa celebrates a grand opening on June 27. Photo courtesy of Tess Hipp.
  4. New bistro hopes to serve as 'adult Chuck E. Cheese'

    Business

    YBOR CITY — Inside Cheezy's Bistro and Speakeasy, a new restaurant opening in Ybor City, customers will find a mix of family recipes, games and secrecy.

    Cheezy's Bistro and Speakeasy readies to open in Ybor City. Photo courtesy of Cheezy's Bistro and Speakeasy.
  5. Ramadan having an economic impact on local charities, businesses

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — Dodging the rain, a few families and customers gathered inside Petra Restaurant on Busch Boulevard. Around 8:30 p.m., the adham (or call to prayer) music begins, signaling Iftar, the end of the daily fast. Customers grabbed a plate to dig into the feast.

    Baha Abdullah, 35, the owner of the Sultan Market makes kataif, a common dessert that is eaten during the month long celebration of Ramadan in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]