After its apparent closure, Farina's liquor license is now up for sale, Mission Local reported. The California State Board of Equalization seized the liquor license to recover outstanding sales and use taxes amounting to $274,448.37.
Interested parties would need to pony up at least $225,000 for the license, but it will be sold to the highest bidder.
Owned by Farina Foccacia—which later changed its name to Global Trading & Marketing—the restaurant at 3560 18th St. has long had financial issues. In 2016, the State of California Labor & Workforce Development Agency in two separate judgments, determined that the restaurant owed former employees $335,000 in back wages and taxes.
The restaurant reportedly paid back $63,000 of the amount owed.
“They don’t pay anyone,” a former employee told Mission Local. “They prey on immigrants.”
This was despite the fact that the restaurant co-owned by Luca Minna may have had a revenue boost of 27 percent, reported Inside Scoop in 2011. Back then, the restaurant reportedly paid its employees a flat $10/hour, "a second salary" and a quarterly bonus structure.
However, employees found the system frustrating as it meant tips went to the restaurant, not to staff. "It's not transparent. It's all hidden behind his doors," a former employee told Inside Scoop.
Two months ago, the restaurant shut down for what it claimed were "technical issues." However, there may have been more wages owed to the staff even after the 2016 judgment.
"After making a reservation at Farina, I arrived to find the entire wait staff had walked out and the kitchen closed," Yelper Herb D. wrote on May 22nd. "The staff there said, 'They should actually pay the people who do work for them.' Ruined the evening for me."
Then, in June, Farina's landlord, the Edward Plant Company, posted a letter to the exterior of the restaurant, asking for $11,789 in unpaid rent. Later, another posted notice asked for another $5,491 in unpaid water and garbage bills.
When Hoodline reached out to Ted Plant at the Edward Plant Company, he declined to say if Farina's owners had repaid the money owed. However, he did add that he had been in touch "a little bit" with them over the matter, and declined further comment.
As Mission Local notes, the restaurant's future is unclear, given the seizure of its liquor license, the restaurant's creditors and amounts owed. However, in the meantime, Farina Pizza at 700 Valencia St. remains open.
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