Katz: Debt won’t close deli
Backed-up bills lead to a second bankruptcy filing
Austin deli owner Marc Katz has experienced the highs and lows of the news media’s attention the past eight days.
Last week, CNBC broadcast from his West Sixth Street restaurant as part of its study showing that the Texas economy is the best in the country. On Thursday, Katz was standing in the middle of his restaurant explaining why he had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for Katz’s Deli & Bar, the restaurant he’s run for more than 30 years.
“It’s business as usual,” Katz insisted. “I’m not being evicted, and I’m not going out of business.”
But the two-time politician said he might move the deli from 618 W. Sixth St., where he’s been in business since 1979, if he can’t work things out with his landlord.
“I’m looking right now,” he said. “I’m open to anything.”
Tommy Reagan, one of the partners who have owned the building since 2007, said they have been trying to work with Katz even as he fell behind in his rent.
“We’ve bent over backwards to help
him stay in business,” Reagan said. If the restaurant moves, he said, it will be Marc Katz’s decision.
According to court records, M&M Katz Inc. and several related businesses owe $227,637 to the Internal Revenue Service; $56,457 in sales and mixed beverage taxes to the state; $11,367 in unemployment taxes; and $1,956 in property taxes to Travis County.
Katz sought the court’s permission to pay almost $29,000 owed to about 55 employees.
Included in the court records was a budget that shows the Katz businesses generate monthly sales of $225,923. After subtracting various expenses, including his $5,400 salary, there is only $3,270 left over each month. The rent comes to $22,478.
Katz likened his problems to the “usual ups and downs of a small business.”
In 2001, Katz sued his son, claiming he wrongly funneled money from the Aus- tin restaurant to a new one in Houston. His son denied any wrongdoing. They settled the next year, but the cost of the settlement contributed to Katz’s first Chapter 11 filing, in 2004.
Katz, a tireless promoter for his 24hour restaurant, tried twice to promote himself into elected office. He ran for Austin mayor in 2003 and for lieutenant governor this year before losing in the Democratic primary.
On Wednesday, Katz blamed himself for his latest business problems.
“I don’t think I paid enough attention,” he said. “I took my eye off the ball.”
Katz didn’t use his trademark phrase — “Katz’s Never Kloses” — but that was the sentiment he expressed. He said the bankruptcy protection will give him time to right himself and his business.
“You don’t go 30 and a half years and then wipe out,” Katz said. “This is a family business. We’re just not walking away.”
‘I don’t think I paid enough attention. I took my eye off the ball.’
Owner of Katz’s Deli & Bar
Marc Katz says he is looking for a new location.