Petition Started in Effort to Save Village Grille at Rockville Ice Arena

Village Grille

As of Thursday morning, 415 people have signed onto a petition signed by the owners of the Village Grille, the restaurant inside Rockville Ice Arena, in an attempt to save their 16-year-old business, which has been closed for 13 months due to the pandemic. The petition was started by Talia Dadamo.

The Montgomery Youth Hockey Association is taking owners Lewis and Gina Warsaw to court on April 26 for failure to pay rent and repossession of the rented property. According to the Warsaws, they paid rent regularly until the end of April 2020. They haven’t had any income and laid off their five-person staff following the forced closure.

“We need your SUPPORT! By signing this petition, you will let the MYHA board know that they cannot take a 16-year-old successful restaurant away for free,” it states on the petition. “You could sign this petition if you believe that during this pandemic we should HELP each other. Not take away people’s livelihoods when they are down due to something that was of no fault of their own.”

The petition also states, “We want it to be known, to everyone, especially the MYHA families, and Rockville Ice Arena skaters, that we’ve been treated unfairly, and in the opinion of some, unethically by the board over the past two years, before the pandemic began.”

According to the Warsaws’ petition, back in 2019, the MYHA board of directors asked them to vacate by Dec. 31, 2019. However, the Warsaws had five more years on their lease, which is set to expire in December of 2024, they told MyMCM.

They also said that the board of directors offered to give them some relief on rent payments if they agreed to new terms, which they called heavily weighted in favor of the MYHA and “unsustainable and unfair to us.”

One person who signed the petition wrote, “I have such fond memories of this warm & inviting place!! Please help it survive & continue to continue!!”

MYHA did not immediately respond to a request for comment and had declined to comment for the original article.

Lani Warsaw, Lewis and Gina’s daughter, posted on Facebook that her parents have been operating the Village Grille since she was in middle school and that her parents have a good relationship with customers.

“My parents have been trying to negotiate with the MYHA board for months, asking for any sort of lenience on when they can pay off the entire year of loss and establish a fair lease moving forward given the restrictions. They have been met with silence from the board and a court date instead. I am aware of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund which could provide my parents with the funds they need, but unfortunately, the application is not yet out. And if my parents lose the restaurant during this court hearing, they are unable to apply,” she posted on Facebook.

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