1.) THE BASICS: The restaurant at the corner of Massachusetts and Park avenues in Arlington Heights for “nonpayment of taxes.” The restaurant’s locks were changed, and a bright orange “SEIZED” notice (pictured) was put in its front-door window.
2.) HOW MUCH?: The restaurant’s owners, John Mercer and Steven Kupelnick, owe the state $92,387 in meals tax dating back to 2009, according to Department of Revenue spokesman Robert Bliss on Wednesday.
3.) NEXT STEPS: The owners have roughly four to six weeks to come up with a “substantial” down payment toward the overdue amount and to set up a payment plan, Bliss said. If they do, they’ll be allowed back in. If they don’t, the items in the restaurant will be auctioned off (with the auction taking place inside the restaurant). The owners had already contacted the Department of Revenue within 24 hours of the restaurant’s seizure, Bliss said.
4.) DON’T JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS: Bliss stressed Wednesday that the auction is far from a sure thing. He said of the approximately 60 to 80 properties seized by the state each year, only about 25 to 30 percent of them end up going to auction.
5.) END OF AN ERA?: At one time, Brigham’s, which was founded in Newton nearly a century ago, had about 100 restaurants in New England. However, in 2008, it was split and sold, and all of its company-run restaurants were closed, while franchised operations, like the one in Arlington Heights, remained open. This past January, Mercer and Kupelnik , leaving only a few left in the state. All this plus Friendly’s, a similar operation, declared bankruptcy last fall.