Raleigh restaurant faces financial trouble

RALEIGH Tuesday afternoon dozens of Yancy's employees blocked the front entrance, refusing to leave until they got their paycheck.

When they finally did, workers were doubtful their checks would pay out.

Meanwhile, Yancy's front doors are locked --closed for business. And for how long is unknown.

A once booming business-- one of the first restaurants to open along downtown's recently renovated Fayetteville Street-- seems now to be barely hanging on.

Yancy's has changed ownership over the years and in February filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection while it's owners tried to resolve contract disputes with their landlord.

"Since then checks have been bouncing like crazy," former hostess Shanna Toney said. "We have no food in the restaurant, the food is always out, they can either pay us or get food. It really proves they're broke.

Workers waited for hours on pay checks, only to be handed out long after the banks closed.

"I'm upset, I need my money. Today is the first, rent is due, dogs need food, I need food, my family needs food, this is my livelihood, I don't work for free," Yancy's dishwasher Tarris McGruder said.

Employees tell Eyewitness News their checks have bounced before. Bank tellers say there are insufficient funds.

"See that 6-13-08," Yancy's employee Jamel Felton said. "It's bounced everywhere I tried to cash it. Wachovia, Bank of America, check cashing places, everywhere."

Yancy's managers and owners did not return Eyewitness News' calls, but members of the Raleigh Downtown Alliance says downtown Raleigh businesses are actually doing well despite a struggling economy.

"We track the food and beverage tax which is an indicator of anything that sells food in the downtown district and June was our highest month this year," said David Diaz with the Downtown Raleigh Alliance.

Those food and beverage numbers don't show specifically which businesses are doing well, but the Downtown Raleigh Alliance says other numbers show that Sono, which is two doors down from Yancy's, and the Mint, right across the street, are staying busy.

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