Sidebar restaurant closes, to reopen elsewhere

The owner of Sidebar in Dayton’s Oregon Historic District said Monday night that the restaurant has closed its current location at 410 E. Fifth St. but will reopen elsewhere in the Dayton area.

The restaurant’s owner, Brian Higgins, said Sidebar was in the process of being evicted by the restaurant’s landlord, Dr. Michael Ervin. Higgins said Ervin is planning for another restaurant to open in Sidebar’s current location. Ervin could not be reached Monday night for comment.

Four months ago, Ervin filed an eviction lawsuit against the restaurant , claiming Sidebar and Higgins owed $34,723 in rent, back rent, late fees, utilities and taxes. That lawsuit, however, was voluntarily dismissed within a week.

Sidebar was picketed Saturday by employees and ex-employees claiming they were not being properly compensated. Higgins said the picketing was prompted in part by his termination of eight or nine employees after an after-hours party inside the restaurant a week ago.

Dan Tierney, spokesman for the Ohio Attorney General’s office, said Monday that Sidebar owes $42,000 in sales taxes and $51,000 in required unemployment compensation payments to the state, dating to early 2012. Higgins on Monday acknowledged the tax arrears, but said he is on a payment plan and has started paying down the debt.

Higgins, who operates a restaurant and bar in Columbus also called Sidebar, said he is “already looking and in negotiations” for another location in the Dayton area to reopen Sidebar.

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