A popular Church St. restaurant abruptly closed this week, leaving staff upset after they say they learned of their job loss via a note taped to the restaurant’s front door.

Lola’s Kitchen is part of a section of Church St. that has been purchased for the development of a new condo building. While employees said they knew the closure was coming, they say they received no notice from the restaurant’s owner about when it would happen.

“I feel like, almost disturbed by it,” said Alexandria Currie, who has been a server and bartender with Lola’s since 2013. “It was such a lovely place to work, because of the staff, because of the food we created, because of the positive inclusive environment we created.”

Currie said this past weekend, the restaurant had been open as usual, with staff introducing customers to a new brunch menu. On Monday, Lola’s was closed for Labour Day. Staff found out it was closed permanently when a co-worker spotted the notice taped to the front window.

According to the Ontario business registry, Lola’s Kitchen Inc. is registered to Elliott and Warren Sud. The Star attempted to contacted Elliott Sud by email and phone and did not receive a response. A colleague told the Star he was out of town and would not be available for comment.

According to the Ontario Employment Standards Act of 2000, an employer can terminate the employment of an employee without written notice, if the employer pays severance.

On Wednesday, Jennifer Abergel, an assistant manager at Lola’s, told the Star that employees had received severance pay, the amount of which depended on how long they had been with the restaurant.

Abergel said she was also upset by the abrupt closure, and the fact the note was signed off “Lola’s Management,” though she said the management team was not made aware of the decision to close the restaurant.

She said that on Tuesday, while speaking to reporters outside of the restaurant, two different distributors that provide supplies to the restaurant showed up for their usual drop offs.

“I had to explain to them that we are permanently shut down without notice and I’m not sure who’s going to be contacting them about terminating our contract,” Abergel said.

Tyson Fillier, another assistant manager, said he had returned to the restaurant in August, giving up a full-time position elsewhere to do so. “I gave up another full-time opportunity to come back on board full-time, and then a month later he just closes the doors on us,” Fillier said.

Currie called the lockout a “major betrayal,” adding the closure feels like staff have been robbed of the happiness they found working there.

“It didn’t feel like work. It was like going in and hanging out with your friends and like, just to have somebody cut that completely off without even just even knowing what kind of environment we had fostered there. It was just really disappointing.”


Published on thestar.com on September 6, 2018 by Jenna Moon