State officials seized the liquor license of Farina Focaccia & Cucina Italiana on 18th and Dearborn streets and sold it at auction to cover nearly $275,000 in back taxes and penalties owed by the restaurant, according to a Board of Equalization notice.
The license went on sale July 11 with a minimum bid of $225,000. A spokesperson for the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration indicated the license had been sold, but did not disclose who bought it. According to a Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control spokesperson, the agency must do a background review of the buyer before they may operate.
For recent weeks, the restaurant at 3560 18th Street has been closed. One reader reported it had been closed since May 24. On June 9, a notice appeared on the restaurant’s door from the landlord, the Edward Plant Company. The notice said Farina had not paid its rent of roughly $11,100 for the month of June. Later that month, another notice appeared, ordering the restaurant to submit more than $5,000 in unpaid water and garbage bills or face the consequences. On recent afternoons, the restaurant has continued to appear closed, though its fixtures remain in place.
Ted Plant of the Edward Plant Company, the San Francisco real estate brokerage firm that owns the 18th Street location, declined to comment on the current status of the tenancy, but said he had not received word from Farina that they had any intention of closing.
Without a liquor license, however, and with several weeks of closed doors already elapsed, it is unclear what form the restaurant will take if it reopens.
The new holder of the license could apply it at the same location or move it to a different address in the city, according to the ABC.
Its second location, Farina Pizza, at Valencia and 18th streets, remains open. A worker there, who did not give a name, said the closed location had closed due to a leak and would reopen.
When pressed about the tax debt, the person said Farina had been taken over by new management, who would address the problem, and referred questions to the email listed on Farina’s website. The worker could not name the new management company or its agents. An email for comment to Farina’s email address was not returned by press time.
Last year, when it became clear that Farina faced dozens of claims for money it owed for operations at both locations, a manager for Farina gave a similar response: He said the restaurants had been acquired by a new company, Global Trading & Marketing LLC, and the previous owners no longer had anything do with the restaurant.
However, the original owner of Farina, Luca Minna, was among those named on the recently seized liquor license for the restaurant. Minna did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
Global Trading & Marketing, a Florida-based company, is still registered with the California Secretary of State as doing business at 3560 18th Street. No phone number or email is listed for its officers on public records available through the Secretary of State website. The Florida Secretary of State’s office lists a different manager for the same license number and company name, but also offers no contact information.
Mission Local will add comments from the restaurant or management company if one becomes available.
It’s a good thing when MissionLocal uncovers wage theft at these restaurants and this type of shady business dealings.