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Mediterranean Grill Abruptly Closes [Updated]

The rapid shuttering happened after a deal to sell the business fell through; all employees have been laid off.

Update, 11 p.m. Wednesday: PLEASE NOTE: When Patch spoke with former 'Grill' owner Mike Baffa, he said that he never spoke with anyone from Fairfield Examiner, although the writer of the article,  in question, James Cooper, did get the facts correct.

“I have no idea who that guy is, maybe he talked to someone else, a broker maybe,” said Baffa.

Original article

, that colorful restaurant located right on the corner of Wilton's central plaza, has abruptly closed shop today, the Examiner reports.

The restaurant’s owner, Mike Baffa, had been trying to sell his shop to several employees, even reducing the businesses’ price by $20,000 to make the deal, but it was ultimately unsuccessful, reports the Examiner, which spoke with soemone whom they confused with Baffa. The article says that the person talked “with a note of shock still in his voice.”

Reportedly, all the employees have been laid off, and the closing was so sudden that the employees had not even found out about the bad news on Saturday. 

Eustace Tilley October 17, 2011 at 06:29 PM
Private sector employees face the prospect of lay-offs on any given day. Government employees (esp those supported by a union) are free to lounge about... but let's not forget this closing puts a dent in sales taxes, payroll taxes etc needed to support the loungers. Are these laid off folks part of the 'skinflints?"
Diane Kuczo October 17, 2011 at 07:44 PM
What is happening to our town? I don't understand - we have so much vacant real estate. Town's like Fairfield seem to be thriving somewhat - and we continue to shutter stores. Are landlords making it impossible to rent here? Are we locals forgetting we need to support our own?? What can we do to fix this trend of local businesses going under???
Jim October 17, 2011 at 08:03 PM
Renting is not an option anymore in Fairfield county for business. Bad economy and people are not spending money. Landlords should work with business owners on this,because if the owner of the business goes out, what does the landlord collect!
Michael Perrella October 17, 2011 at 08:24 PM
Mediterranean Grill, Keeler's Hardware, Blue Tulip without a doubt the current severe recession has contributed to these and other closings. I believe it would be prudent to have the town do a study to see if other influences are coming into play, rents, location etc.
William sherman October 17, 2011 at 08:39 PM
At this point the only public reason for the closing is that a business deal fell through. One can only guess at what happened to cause that. If it turns out that the revenue from the restaurant was insufficient to pay the expenses, and that the towns increasing taxes caused a trickle down cost effect from the landlord to the lessee, then we just have another sign of Wilton not having an environment that favors business. We currently seem to concentrate on what we see most, business in the Wilton center area. If you take a broad look at it, check into the number of businesses that have closed along the RT 7 corridor, especially in the small shopping areas. I can’t say it was taxes that played a part. Perrella is correct, the town should do a study, like an exit interview. It is not a priority with our selectman, and besides even if it was done, the results probably would not come out. Take a look at the senior survey, if you can find it.
Ken MacCallum October 17, 2011 at 09:10 PM
Please, no more tusdies by the Wilton selectmen. It would either be a whitewash, or never see the light of day. The fact of the matter is that real estate and other texes are high, and the economy in Wilton - like Fairfield County and the rest of Connecticut - is fragile. And add Michaelina's to the list of closeures in the past month in the town center (and recall case in their case that they suffered extensive damage in the March flood).
EMR October 17, 2011 at 09:53 PM
so besides Luca's, what restaurants are still open? Portofino won't open till 2015 at this rate.
Eustace Tilley October 17, 2011 at 11:23 PM
Remember the $50,000 they spent to 'fight' air traffic patterns awhile ago or the fortune spent years ago to 'study' the Town Hall campus re-configuration?! These little 'extras' are vulnerable to mismanagement and could even be viewed as mis-spent 'pork.' We survived mismanagement in government when government was small....now its the biggest business on the planet. They're 'out to lunch' but not at our restaurants...
wilton42 October 18, 2011 at 01:57 PM
unfortunate for the owners and the town that it closed but MAYBE presents an opportunity for a new FAMILY restaurant in a FAMILY town (see 50 coins or norwalk brewhouse as business models to copy)
B October 18, 2011 at 03:00 PM
The layout of the town needs to be changed so it is a true town square. Some possible changes would be to have the streets be one way and allow for more on the street parking. Might make the town more walkable and bring in more/better vendors (i.e. not a nail salon).
RW October 19, 2011 at 03:17 AM
Wilton taxes are out of control, and we have no one but ourselves to blame. The last budget vote, which raised property taxes by "only a latte a day, on average" - or ~$1,000/yr for the typical Wilton family - saw only 1400 voters out of 11,000 show up at the polls. In spite of all the rhetoric flying around, ultimately, our collective refusal to get involved only allows the professional politicians, teachers unions and clueless bleeding hearts to run this town into the ground. We have dozens of foreclosures, an unemployment rate which is multiples of what it normally is, and good old boy Malloy just raised taxes on everyone - retroactively. Elections have consequences. Failure to get involved dooms you to be ruled by your inferiors.
Eustace Tilley October 19, 2011 at 12:20 PM
SPOT ON RW!!! Wish we had more folks willing to speak up and take on the tax machine
Thomas J October 19, 2011 at 01:57 PM
He makes the same revenue at his burger joint in Fairfield, has lower overhead and likes the business model better. He wanted out and could not find a buyer. Rents are too high here and the traffic does not justify that. No more studies though, please. Our town is not sophisticated enough to put a valid study together so why waste more money. Agree on the taxes and participation too. Taxes are high and people here are apathetic for the most part.
Mike75 October 19, 2011 at 05:50 PM
Its rigged. Even if appraisals are low, then the mil rate goes up, and you end up paying the same as before (or even more). Our taxes are directly related to the town budget. As that keeps increasing, so will our taxes.
Sue Donem October 19, 2011 at 06:22 PM
ETP: You forgot to include the $12,000 survey to figure out why seniors are leaving town.....
Eustace Tilley October 20, 2011 at 12:25 AM
You are right Sue, but its hard to keep track of the missteps...
James Cooper October 20, 2011 at 03:17 PM
Mike Baffa (or someone claiming to be him) called me Sunday morning. I am the Fairfield County Food Examiner. -James Cooper.

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