K-n-K Kitchen files for bankruptcy
After closing unexpectedly at the end of April last year and having been open for only 34 days, K-n-K Kitchen officially filed Chapter 7 in the United States Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of Illinois.
A meeting of creditors is scheduled to take place Feb. 28 at 9:30 a.m. in Benton at the US Trustee 341 Meeting Room located at 302 W. Main St.
Employees of the now-closed restaurant were hopeful that owner Keith E. Jones would make good on his promise to get them paid, but with nearly a year behind them most have written off any chance of it now.
“If nothing else we were hopeful that the waitresses would have been paid,” former K-n-K Kitchen prep cook Michael Simmons said. “While some cooks were partially paid the waitresses were not paid at all.”
Simmons was one of a handful of employees who said the actions of Jones left them in a pinch as they were suddenly without a job and without pay for the work they performed. Simmons said the waitresses were hit hardest because Jones failed to pay out any tips that were left using credit cards, which requires the tip amount to be paid out from the register in cash.
“I’ve given up on getting paid,” Simmons said.
Not giving up is former K-n-K cook Liz Linton who said she held out hope of being paid up until Jones filed for bankruptcy. Linton said she has made more than a dozen phone calls to the former restaurant owner in hopes of negotiating a settlement without any luck.
“I think what he did was criminal,” Linton said, adding that she has had several text replies from Jones but is uncertain if he knows which ex-employee she is. Linton said phone calls to Jones have had little success in leading to actually speaking with him, but that replies to texts happen on occasion. Linton allowed the Goreville Gazette a look at those texts in which Jones apologizes for the closure and states his goal is to get his employees paid.
“How does a person who claims to have owned several restaurants before fail to take into account that they will not recoup their investment in the first month,” Linton said, adding that Jones’ behavior leaves one thinking he never intended to keep the business open. “Not only did he not pay his staff, but he didn’t pay his vendors or repairmen who helped fix the place for its opening.”
Since the closure of the K-n-K Kitchen the building has sat vacant with Village of Goreville trustees and Mayor Larry Vaughn saying the situation is a disappointment with no simple solution. Mayor Vaughn said Goreville would like to see another owner move in and open a restaurant the community can take pride in.
“We’re a great little town and the building is in a great location to do business,” Vaughn said. “We’re looking into what we can do to help get someone in there and provide our community with another successful business.”
Those wishing to object to Jones’ discharge of debt have until April 29 to file a challenge to the bankruptcy clerk’s office in Benton addressed to United States Bankruptcy Court, 301 West Main Street, Benton, IL, 62812.