A Mediterranean restaurant that came to Journal Square in 2018 has been shuttered since the new year over a leaky roof, and it appears that Flatbread Grill won’t be coming back to a storefront near the neighborhood’s PATH station.
The Hoboken-based business, co-owned and founded by Gonca, Fusun, and Arzu Esendmir, expanded from their initial outpost last year to a storefront at 26 Journal Square. The building, first constructed in 1928, is owned by Kushner Companies and has been undergoing renovations over the last year.
A Chipotle outpost is opening at one of the property’s other storefronts this summer, but Flatbread Grill has remained dark under mysterious circumstances since the calendar changed to 2019. Co-owner Gonca Esendmir has shared documentation with Jersey Digs as to what has caused that and she says problems at the property began in September 2017 and got worse last year when small parts of the ceiling at the restaurant started collapsing.
The issue ended up being more significant than the storefront, as the city’s Department of Health and Human Services issued a report shutting down the restaurant in January over what they termed a “severe leak” over the food preparation area that stemmed from the building’s roof. Gonca says Flatbread Grill met with representatives from Kushner Companies on April 5 to discuss the issues with the roof and Kushner’s side claimed it was fully repaired and would provide documentation in support of that.
Despite the dialogue, lawyers for Flatbread Grill say Kushner hasn’t provided any paperwork since that meeting and promises that they wanted Flatbread Grill to come back, re-open, and renegotiate their lease have gone unfulfilled. As a result, Flatbread Grill sent a letter to Kushner earlier this month stating they are prepared to vacate 26 Journal Square by the end of the month and are ready to “face the reality that we cannot and will not be able to reopen in Jersey City after investing tens of thousands of dollars in this business venture.”
Kushner Companies has not responded to our request for comment on the issue, which could end up in court. Esendmir told Jersey Digs that Flatbread Grill is preparing to file suit against their landlord, as the lease has been effectively terminated due to Kushner’s failure to maintain the property in operable condition.
The result of any litigation between the parties remains to be seen, but the reality for Journal Square appears to be that the neighborhood has lost a restaurant for good.