Decatur Diner Employees Tell Hispanic Newspaper They Aren’t Being Paid

LooneyMooney points to this extensive article about business practices at Decatur Diner from Atlanta’s Hispanic news source, Mundo Hispanico today.  Here’s a blurb that’s been translated by Google Translate

Workers say a restaurant for over two months without receiving their wages.

At least 10 Diner Decatur Hispanic workers say this restaurant is not been paid in five weeks.

In addition, most of them claim that their employer paid six dollars an hour, when the minimum wage by law is 7.50.

These workers MundoHispánico told the restaurant owners have promised to pay off your debt on several occasions but that such agreements are only promises.

If anyone wants to provide a better translation, they’re welcome to.

If you weren’t around for the related Crescent Moon saga a couple years back, you can get caught up HERE.


56 thoughts on “Decatur Diner Employees Tell Hispanic Newspaper They Aren’t Being Paid”

    1. I’ve got:

      1. Can’t pass health inspection with score over 70.
      2. Food sucks anyway.

      I’d REALLY like to know what reasons number 3 through 431 could be and why you would even keep counting past number 2…

      1. The inspection score alone is enough for me but #3 would be not paying or under paying employees and #4 is that these owners have run another popular Decatur place into the ground, right? I say get it all out in the open so they’ll hit the road ASAP and let someone else give it a try.

  1. Drove by on Sunday morning at 11am, on our way to JChristophers for breakfast – lines out the door at Radial Cafe, Thumbs Up, Flying Biscuit, Sweet Melissas, ghost town at Diner…RIP

  2. Damnit. All this is going to do is to validate in their minds the people who pissed and moaned about the aesthetics of the place. I really hope someone else takes it over and ups the quality (of both the food and the management) but keeps the tacky, kitschy look!

    1. Yes, that way if “Jersey Shore” ever decides for some reason to film an episode here in Decatur, their location scouts will have a no brainer on where to shoot.

    2. I definitely think there is a desire for this kind of place in Decatur (evident by the initial brisk business), but this one is just not it.

      1. I once sat in Crescent Moon at Northlake shortly after these people took over and listened to the new manager talking about how things were gonna be going forward. He didn’t seem to care that my wife and I could hear everything he said, which boiled down to “I didn’t give a crap (he used a different term) about what the employees think.” I think he assumed that customers don’t care about the employees, so why should he worry about us hearing him berate them. Needless to say, we never went back after listening to that jerk.

  3. I was there late night not long ago, and even as a ravenous drunk their sausage gravy was horrible. Buyer beware I suppose.

    1. When a restaurant fails to satisfy the ravenous drunk population, its days are numbered for sure…

    2. Ditto on an early morning breakfast. The employees were friendly but he basic egg omelet not so much. The Majestic in Ponce-Highland is way better, and more interesting! And it has been in operation 75 years. I had hoped our dinner would be like that.

  4. I think it is safe to say (at least in my opinion) that a restaurant that doesn’t open for almost a year, yet keeps every light in the place shining 24/7, can’t pass inspection multiple times, doesn’t know a lick about decorating, and doesn’t seem to know what the current minimum wage is must be run by people who know absolutely nothing about the restaurant business! Plus, in my one eating experience there, the food was so-so, nothing to write home about.

  5. Someone please escort these losers to the city limits and don’t let the door hit them in the ### on the way out!

  6. I’ve read quite a few comments here over the years about how these owners are basically running a money-laundering operation – the insinuation is that the restaurants they run are basically a way to funnel illegitimate cash into their owners hands. That’s supposedly why the restaurants are so poorly run and ultimately fail – they are an afterthought.

    Now we hear they are paying their staff sub-minimum wage, or not paying them at all. This echoes the ending of the Crescent Moon saga.

    Note: I am not the source of these allegations, I’m just bringing up what has been posted here many times. My question is, how can this be true? How come this hasn’t been investigated and brought to light? In a town where you can’t even ride a bike through a stop sign without coming to a full stop, there is a supposed mafia group running business after business out in the open? I think we’ve got to question the “word on the street” on this one.

    1. Overall, a good point. Should not assume the worker’s statements are true or untrue. But when we proceed with questioning it, I would start with this – what is the motive of the employees to levy such a charge against their employer? Whistleblowing from a single person is one thing, but froim a group, that’s a big red flag and deserves attention. The mafia insinuations aside, hopefully the wage complainants have filed a formal complaint as well.

    2. It’s not likely a money laundering operation. If it was, they would make sure that their employees and suppliers get paid to keep things flowing. I think these guys just take as much money as they can out of the cash register and stiff everyone else from the staff to the vendors to whatever bank may have been stupid enough to give them any credit. When it all hits the fan they move on, find another cousin to put his name on all the paperwork, and start all over again in another location while all the prior crap is tied up in litgation for years. At some point the cousin on the hook for the mess manages to slip back to the old country.

    3. The weird house squatting situation in the Great Lakes went on forever right under our noses too. Decaturites may be so plugged into certain issues–walking and rolling, the schools, transportation, land use, green practices, strategic planning, etc. that we are oblivious to things taking place on other planes, e.g. the operations of truly shady characters! If these characters were trying to buy Westchester or build a 6-story condo building in a single family home neighborhood or ban strollers from their restaurant, we’d be all over it!

      1. Understand the purview and authority of various agencies. The Decatur Police are not the IRS, Secret Service, or FBI. Things like tax evasion, shady accounting, labor laws and the like are not theirs to enforce.

  7. My son and I were riding our bikes around dinner time last night. As we passed the Diner I noticed only 1 customer inside..

    Word must be getting around.

    I’d like to see a bagel place go in there when they close.

  8. The biggest red flag for me was their HUGE menu. No one can do Italian, Greek, Mexican, Chinese, American (and many more) types of fare well. A good rule of thumb is not to eat at a restaurant that can’t decide what kind it is.

    1. Gina, I don’t know who you are or where you are from, but it’s obviously not New Jersey 😉

      You’d think with all the transplants here that a good diner would be a no-brainer. The variety is the key. No, none of the food is going to be the “best” you can get, but a good diner that has a huge menu and does it all “well” is a beautiful thing. The Marietta Diner is the closest we have around here and I will admit that I sometimes make up excuses to drive to Cobb County just to indulge in a little slice of home. Lunch is the best deal, with $10-12 getting you a surprisingly good meal with enough leftovers for dinner or lunch the next day (or both, if unlike me you can actually practice portion control).

      I had high hopes for Decatur Diner with the early reports that it would be run by the same folks who own Marietta Diner. Turns out that the DD folks actually may be related to the MD family (anyone know for sure?) but if so they are clearly the black sheep of that restauranteur clan.

      1. The one on Pleasant Hill in Gwinnett (Georgia Diner?) used to be pretty good too, though that was ten years ago and I’m not even sure if they are still there.

  9. I may be the only one here, but this actually makes me sad. Decatur Diner has been a very kid-friendly place in our experience, and I have good memories of taking our boys here. I’ve only had the gyro, but it was good.

  10. I was in the Diner a few weeks ago and had to leave before I was even seated. One of the owners/managers (?) chewed out a waitress because she tried to seat us (how horrible, right?!). The whole incident happened right in front of us, while we were waiting to be seated. I felt horrible for the waitress. It was completely demeaning and totally unprofessional. I couldn’t eat there after that. I won’t be going back.

  11. The thing that disappointed me the most was that the diner wouldn’t fulfill my need to find a place to get out of the house and get some work done at night while nibbling on some pie and nursing a coffee. It had more of a sit-down, eat your meal, and get out atmosphere. I’m still looking for where to hang out and get some work done. Dancing Goats has the right lighting but closes at 7 PM when I’m still in the middle of dinner. Java Monkey and Kavarna are too dark.

    1. At Home, I’ve actually found The Marlay House to be pretty accommodating for that type of thing. I wouldn’t try working there on a Friday or Saturday night, but on most weeknights you can grab a booth, a beer, and be left alone for as long as you want.

      1. Whoa, great idea. Once again, this blog comes through. I’ve only been in there a few times, but come to think of it, two of the times were for (non-work) committee meetings on weeknights and the establishment seemed fine with lingering. They have a lot of food that my Mom used to make and I consider comfort food–e.g. shepherd’s pie, lamb stew, pimento cheese, cobbler–and that and a beer would really take the edge off of having to catch up on work!

        1. The Marley’s food is very good and it a cozy place to relax and enjoy a beverage. Took my 82 yr. old mother there for lunch and she loved the pasta dish she ordered. The Marley is of the place along with the other obvious handful of establishments that make Decatur a great place to live and be proud of. Hopefully, the next occupants of the D.D. space will follow that ethic.

    2. Hi AHID,
      I’ve also found Raging Burrito to be very accomodating when I’m looking to snack and work. Sounds like this could be a good FFAF thread!

    3. McGowan’s in Oakhurst is also a good place to get dessert & coffee or a beer/wine and you can linger a long time in comfort. The old Palate wine bar area is still fairly quiet most nights so a good place to get some work done or host a meeting. They are open till very late and might have WiFi.

    4. I’m feeling a strong urge now to go out and work late! One thing–how many of these places are well-lit? That’s one other feature that a cheap allows-you-to-linger all-night diner offers to those looking to catch up work in a public place.

  12. I had one meal (lunch) at the Decatur Diner. The soups (there were two of us) were almost not edible. The salad, other than an interesting slab of blue cheese, was cut up iceberg lettuce. The entrees were very forgettable. The kitchen was chaotic, with some very unhappy employees.

    I have not been back. Too many other good choices. Something is just not right with the Diner.

  13. According to the newspaper (I am Spanish speaking) they also mention that after they had worked their first 80-90 hours were told that those hours counted as a “deposit” that would be paid sort of like a severance package after they decided to leave the restaurant. On average, the restaurant owes $1,300 to most employees (at $6 per hours, that is a lot of hours!) the other sad thing is that the owners have kept all the cards where the workers “punched” their hours worked so the employees really have no way to show the hours worked. The Department of Labor has said that they need more employees to complain but without their cards they have no way of proving anything.

    Finally, the diner registered as Tee and Es Property Holdings, LLC has not renewed their registration for 2011/2012

    1. Yeah, that USDOL rep sounded pretty “hands in the air,” which was really disheartening to read. And the “deposit” nonsense–my head is spinning. Seriously, folks, we can’t allow this kind of thing in our own backyards. Do we have to get the torches and pitchforks ready to help get these workers paid????

  14. I’d had some decent meals at the diner, and the waitstaff have been consistently friendly–even with my kids. None of that matters, though; he shady business practices have forced me to ban he diner and to suggest to friends that they do likewise.

    As a native New Yorker who also lived in NJ, I had high hopes when DD finally opened. The expansive menu is typical of a diner, and most folks from he Tri-state area know not to expect four star recipes, though we do expect solid, tasty blue-collar vittles. “Bistro” is what you call a
    place with a huge menu where the food is fancy. DD is a cut above the Brooklyn dives that serve Tang when you order OJ, but it fails to deliver even on simple things like bacon and eggs. The coffee is swill–even worse than Dunkin’s.

    Put me on the list of Decatur residents who want to see the Diner close. Personally, I would love to see the Bagel Palace open a place in downtown Decatur.

  15. It’s been a long time since I’ve waited tables, but back then, it was customary to be paid less than minimum wage. I think when minimum was $3.35 a waitperson (or bartender, etc.—–tip earner) was paid around $2.10 an hour. The idea being that you would make tips. I would suspect that hasn’t changed. Just saying. Don’t think being paid less than minimum to wait tables is out of the ordinary.

  16. The only place I know where you can get avgolemono soup, and it *was* tasty and substantial on our first visit (I’ve got Greek family). But I had a nightmare experience one very early Sunday when our power was out and I needed to do some intense work on my laptop before work. It was the only place open. Bad coffee, dazzling lights, and worst of all, the music was piercing 3rd rate disco stuff from the 70s, possibly not even suitable for a Saturday night on the Jersey Shore. It was impossible to think. Sweet and friendly wait staff nevertheless.

    1. Steve,

      Mykono’s at Clairmont and 85 has awesome avgolemono soup and great service. We go there at least once a week.

    2. More learning on DM! Never knew that term although I’ve eaten at many a Greek restaurant in many a city. According to Wikipedia: “As a soup, it usually starts with chicken broth, though meat (usually lamb), fish, or vegetable broths are also used. Typically, rice, orzo, pastina, or tapioca[4] are cooked in the broth before the mixture of eggs and lemon is added. Its consistency varies from near-stew to near-broth. It is often served with pieces of the meat and vegetables reserved from the broth.”

      Now that I know what avgolemono soup is, Athen’s Pizza House has it too. But they call it Lemon Chicken Soup.

  17. Wait–what? These are the people who ran Crescent Moon into the ground? How on earth were they allowed licenses to open and operate another restaurant in our city?!???

    In other news, I won’t be eating Atlanta Bread Co ever again, for similar reasons. I’d heard rumors about why the Decatur location closed (and apparantly spawned this Diner nonsense) but here’s the deal, straight from the owners’ mouths.

    What. The. Frack…

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