Times have been tough for awhile, and businesses have been failing on a regular basis. We have all gotten used to that as we peruse the newspaper or watch the news on TV. Yest sometimes we get blindsided when it happens. This was the case for me with the Brooklawn Diner in Brooklawn, New Jersey. I pass it on the Brooklawn Circle on a regular basis on my way to other destinations and noticed a few months back that the parking lot looked a bit empty.

Then their sign said they were under renovations, and I figured that was the reason. But then I didn't see any signs of construction going on, not even the presence of extra Dumpsters, as I had when the local diner at "Five Points" got a makeover. That's rather odd. Then I went by one day and saw a sign in the window that said they would reopen in March. Oh, okay, I thought to myself. I guess most of the work was interior, and they will be reopening soon. But then came April . . . . then May. Nothing. No Grand Reopening.

By this time the May 10 story in the Courier Post was not a big surprise when they announced that the diner was sold at sheriff’s sale on January 18 to the law firm of Riker and Danzig in Morristown. So I guess there were no "renovations." When a chapter 11 filing was mentioned in the article, I did some digging.

It turns out one was filed back in April of last year (who knew?) listing creditors owed as much as $1.8 million (New York Community Bank) to $2,000 (Rockland Bakery and Waste Management). Throw in $340,000 in federal and state payroll taxes and $35,000 in sales taxes and it starts adding up to a real problem. With $65,000 in assets (the LLC running the diner did not own the building) and almost $4 million in debt, reorganization was going to be tough.

For many years, my wife and I frequented that diner and enjoyed the hospitality of its owners. I remember being handed a pocket calendar on my way out, being told, "Here's your Greek passport!" We always got a great meal for a good price, and was a regular spot for going out to breakfast (which my wife loves to do).

Now that it is gone, we find that there are fewer diners in the area we enjoy frequenting as much. Where else will we go now? Brooklawn's mayor is looking for a replacement, but what could really replace it in the hearts of those who dined there for over 30 years.

Do you have a favorite place that has gone under? Do you miss it? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Steven J. Richardson
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Bankruptcy, Collections, Student Loan, DUI and Traffic Court attorney in Woodbury, NJ.
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