FOREST HILLS, QUEENS – In February, the health department closed T-Bone Diner after finding flies and rats in the decades old restaurantbut the restaurant faced even bigger problems in court, records show.
Months earlier, on December 6, the restaurant owner filed a petition claiming the restaurant owed about $744,370 in missed charges — including rent payments, property taxes and water and sewer charges — dating back to 2016.
Representatives for T-Bone Diner did not immediately respond to Patch’s request for comment, but the restaurant’s attorney denied the charges. in January response to the petition.
“[T-Bone Diner] generally denies the allegations set forth in the petitioner’s Notice of Petition,” the response reads.
A months-long legal battle ensued, culminating in a judgment that T-Bone Diner had to either pay $815,528.99 by the end of March (cumulative missed charges up to that point), either face an eviction, recording show.
Richard Jagusiak, the owner’s son-in-law, told Patch that the restaurant had permanently closed and moved.
“He let the restaurant go to hell,” Jagusiak said of the T-Bone Diner owner. “After he moved, a lot of people complained about the place.”
In March and early April, neighbors complained about the restaurant, saying they saw rats and smelled odors coming from the closed Queens Boulevard storefront, Patch reported.
At the end of April, however, a rental sign was placed in the window, the neighbors said.
Jagusiak confirmed that the owners were looking to lease the building, ideally to another restaurant.
“[The owners] I want to rent it as soon as possible, but for something that will work in the neighborhood,” he said. “A guy called about a smoking room, but [the owners] say absolutely not. “
The busy storefront, located a short walk from the 71-Avenue subway, shouldn’t be empty for too long, Jagusiak said.
Jagusiak added, “I’m going to show it on Saturday, and someone’s coming back with a construction crew to take a second look.”