Barley & Swine Owner on Possible Closure: "I Have 20 People Working For Me" UPDATED

UPDATE: B&S Gastropub has, indeed closed. According to Jorgie Ramos, "We closed the doors last night. We're hoping it's just temporart, but not sure." Stay tuned for updates to this story.

Kendall's B&S Gastropub's owner Jorgie Ramos is in a bitter feud with the condominium his restaurant is located in after building owners initiated repairs that are impeding with the restaurant's ability to operate properly, Eater reports.

Ramos said the restaurant, popularly known as Barley & Swine, is filled with smoke due to construction that has covered up the restaurant's exhaust system. The chef/owner says that the blockage is "forcing all the smoke back into the kitchen" and that customers have been complaining of smelling smoke and tearing eyes. Ramos explains that the outside and inside pressure is sucking the fresh air out and all the smoke back in.

See also: Barley & Swine, Faced With Trademark Infringement Allegation, Changes Name to B&S Gastropub

He says that for the past few days, complaints are causing people to walk out of the restaurant. "People are complaining of teary eyes. If I have a restaurant filled with smoke, I'll lose my reputation."

Ramos says that although the building owners have been working on improvements over the past few months, the smoke is something brand new. "We usually have a 45 minute wait every night. The restaurant has been doing great, even without signage. But all of a sudden, I wake up and I'm on the verge of losing my business." Ramos said that the smoke may cause him to close his restaurant. If that happens, nearly two dozen people will also be affected. "I have 20 people working for me. If I have to close, they'll be out of jobs, too. It's just not fair. It's like a nightmare for me and my family."

The chef/owner says there is a solution to the problem. An extension of the exhaust hoods would cost a few thousand dollars and take a couple of weeks, but would solve the backflow of smoke. However, building management will not approve of these repairs, even with Ramos offering to foot the bill. "I would rather spend a few thousand dollars than close my doors, but I'm not getting any answers."

In order to try to get to a solution, Ramos has hired an attorney, who will file an emergency injunction this Thursday to halt construction until a compromise can be reached. Although Ramos' attorney has suggested an immediate closure of the restaurant filing a lawsuit for lost income damages, Ramos is hoping all parties can come to an agreement. "I'm hoping that we can resolve the issue this week."

This is not the first time Ramos has been at a loggerhead with the Kendall condo owners. When construction started back in summer, his restaurant signage was removed. Ramos asked for a temporary banner to be ordered, but his request was turned down. "They refused me."

In the meantime, Ramos is "playing it by ear," in the hope his Barley & Swine can stay open. "I signed a 15-year lease with the intent of staying at this location for a long time. But this construction might last two years. I can't wait that long."

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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss