Burrito Bros. reopens, was closed for two weeks

Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 6:18 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 6:18 p.m.

Burrito Bros. Taco Co. will reopen Wednesday after being closed for two weeks.

The Mexican-inspired fast food staple at 1402 W. University Ave. closed after the Synod of South Atlantic Presbyterian Church, the owner of the building, suggested the restaurant close its doors because the beams supporting the roof were starting to fail.

Though the roof wasn't fully repaired, it is safe for Randy Akerson, 61-year-old owner of Burrito Bros., to get his crew back cooking.

"I would never have reopened if I had not been assured it was OK to do so," he said.

He said he lost hundreds of pounds of food and thousands of dollars because of the close. The only food that could be saved was 150 pounds of cheese, he said.

Akerson continued to pay his utility bills, payroll and insurance while the restaurant was closed.

He said he expects the synod, as the landlord, to pay him back.

After multiple calls over the past week, the synod could not be reached for comment.

"It was their responsibility in the first place and their instruction to close us," he said.

Akerson said he didn't have to move out, but the church suggested that he do so for the safety of his 20 employees.

"You have to operate ethically if you want to be able to live with yourself and sleep at night," he said.

Burrito Bros. wouldn't have found out about the structural problems if it hadn't been for a possible new neighbor.

The prospective lessee had an engineer check the building for safety. The engineer found that the roof's beams were failing.

"The project is still in the process of being evaluated," said John Thomas of Thomas Realty about the new tenants in the building.

Thomas said that if the deal goes through two new restaurants from Colorado will come to the building.

Previous plans for partners to buy the former Presbyterian Student Center and redevelop it under the name U14 have fallen through, said Nick Banks, Realtor at Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group, who was representing the buyers.

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