« Is the B & O American Brasserie in jeopardy? | Main | Change of menu »

August 19, 2009

An e-mail from the owner of Jordan's Steakhouse


I got a long e-mail from owner Jordan Naftal yesterday after my post on the closing of Jordan's Steakhouse in Ellicott City appeared. What it boiled down to was that he and his landlord are embroiled in a complicated rent dispute.

You may want to hold onto those gift certificates a little longer. If things get settled between them, the restaurant may reopen.

"I am waiting to work things out with our landlord," he said, "and will find out about re-opening when we speak this afternoon [which was yesterday]. I would be happy to give you an update after speaking with him. We also look forward to opening in Maple Lawn this November."

I'll give Naftal a call when I get into work.

Maple Lawn, for those of you who haven't been following the story, is where the now-closed oZ. Chop House is. Naftal and Carlos Venegas, the owner of Ranazul, are partners hoping to open Carlos and Jordan's Steakhouse there. (I wrote about it at greater length in last week's Table Talk.)

(Barbara Haddock Taylor/Sun photographer)

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 7:09 AM | | Comments (15)


Did he explain why the help hadn't been paid?

Comment swerve - Facebook appears to be down? Anybody else have this problem, or did The Man block it?

Just two days ago (Monday, August 17), the Howard County government obtained a judgment against Jordan's for about $2,500. Its parent company, Historic Hospitality LLC, had two judgments entered against it by the Maryland State Comptroller, in September 2008 (for about $17,000) and in March 2009 (for about $41,000).

One may wish Mr. Naftal well in this economy, but he'll have to work things out with several people (not just the landlord) before reopening Jordan's or opening in Maple Lawn.

We just got a call from Jordan's to cancel our reservation at the end of the month. Looks like they won't be opening back up anytime soon.

Well, at least they called. Which implies he actually does mean to open something eventually (unlike the Bicycle people).

two restaurants in a week out of business and owing employees money; the dogwood and jordan's. hopefully this isn't a trend...

Jordan's in Ellicott City was a uniquely special restaurant and we have many great memories there. The financial system's collapse and the inability of small business to get access to working capital to help see them through this economy is the real culprit here. Wishing much success to Jordan in the next venture.

Yes, that's it exactly. It has nothing NOTHING to do with the quality of the restaurant.

At some point you know you wont have enough cash to cover your employees, and then you decide you wont tell them and have them keep working. What day was that Mr Naftal?

to date there are 3 restaurant owners who still owe me money after they were closed abruptly, two of which are still friends of mine! strangely, the murder mystery train (the entertrainment line) which was closed by the IRS and confiscated, paid all of their employees. granted all of them only owe me about $100 or so and I value their friendship more than that. I can always make money but friends are harder to come by.

Yeah but not paying your employees for FIVE weeks and hiring new employees that worked for THREE week without pay is Illegal!!!! and he should be sued on those grounds alone.....

Somebody should call the State of Maryland labor board!!!! This gives viable restaurants and owners a very bad rap...

Isn't he the President of Howard County Tourism as well!?...

To be fair.. if your paycheck bounces, the first thing you should do is find a new paycheck! Five weeks is about four weeks too long working without pay (okay three if its bi-weekly).

It's pretty tough out there, and I'm sure there were lots of promises made and such, but really, if you can't cover the payroll.. I doubt it's a "one time thing". Just consider it as if you were fired, I wouldn't work for free on the hopes and dreams of the man not paying you.

I went to Jordan's on a regular basis and got to know some of the employees. They spoke highly of Jordan and said working there felt like 'being part of the family." Well...turns out Jordan didn't feel the same way! It is horrible that he did not forewarn the staff of what was coming and hadn't paid them for so long! He should be making an apology to everyone for the mess he has made - owing back taxes, back rent, and back pay! All of those people out of work with no notice! Jordan, you should be ashamed of how you handled this and stop saying that you are "relocating" to the new location. You LOST your first business and hurt a lot of people!

This post is in response to another blog in which one poster suggested that people find out where Mr. Naftal lives and "demand" their money. It seems to be pertinent here as well, so...

Yes, this is a horrible situation for everyone involved, and yes, maybe the Naftal's could have done a few things differently over the course of the last year or so. And, as a former employee who experienced the beginnings of this recession and it's effects on Jordan's Steakhouse by also not getting paid, I can certainly empathize with everyone's frustration. But, this talk of "finding" where Jordan lives is barbaric- get a hold of yourselves! Jordan is a decent individual with a great family who are now struggling to get by, just like everyone else.

Also, a few pieces of info regarding his new restaurant- Jordan is not the sole owner of the new venture- it is a partnership with Carlos of Ranazul. He was to manage the establishment, and not own it. This deal had already been inked before the rent dispute was made public. Jordan, for all intents and purposes, was not putting up his own money to open the new place- Carlos was. If you think Jordan was pouring his own money into a new restaurant while the employee's at his current restaurant worked without checks- that he would do something like that- then you are just dead wrong. As I said before- despite this recent situation, Jordan is a decent individual and an honest businessperson. His employee's will receive their money, one way or the other, and no amount of bitching,complaining, threatening, or badmouthing of Jordan and his family on blogs or in person will make it come any faster.

Lay off and let him pick up the pieces of his life and business.

It looks like the 1:46 comment contains an e-mail forwarded without the permission of the person who wrote the e-mail. That is, at best, extremely rude. It might be best to remove it.

Thanks. EL

About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

Top Ten Tuesdays
Most Recent Comments
Baltimore Sun coverage
Restaurant news and reviews Recently reviewed
Browse photos and information of restaurants recently reviewed by The Baltimore Sun

Sign up for FREE text alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for dining text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Food & Drink newsletter
Need ideas for dinner tonight? A recommendation for the perfect red wine?'s Food & Drink newsletter is there to help.
See a sample | Sign up

Stay connected