Has a Once Popular Southern NJ Buffet Restaurant Closed For Good?
It appears that a once popular -- and rather gluttonous -- restaurant in Southern New Jersey has closed for good.
We're speaking of the Golden Corral buffet on the Black Horse Pike in Egg Harbor Township, located in the Harbor Square Shopping Center (still locally known as the old Shore Mall).
Within the past day or so, all of the Golden Corral signs have been removed from the building, replaced by signs advertising that the building is for lease.
According to the restaurant's Facebook page, the eatery closed as New Jersey's COVID-19 pandemic restrictions started in March of 2020.
As things with the virus improved and restaurants began to reopen, this Golden Corral location remained closed.
The last post on their Facebook page was from this past September when the franchise owner, Niral Patel, said the restaurant would be reopening soon and they were looking to hire people for at least 50 positions.
That never happened.
Included with that social media post was a mention of a "meritless lawsuit" between Patel and a bank, "who has made baseless attacks against our business," and a link to an article published by the Albany (NY) Business Review.
Niral Patel is battling to rebuild his businesses and clear his name a year after Adirondack Trust accused him of fraud and froze $1.98 million the restaurant and hotel owner received through the federal Paycheck Protection Program.
In addition to the Golden Corral in Egg Harbor Township, Patel and his family owned a hotel near Saratoga Springs, NY, plus several Golden Corral restaurants in New York and New Jersey.
Adirondack Trust sued Patel and his mother, Nirmala Patel, and their companies in Saratoga County in October. The state Supreme Court case claims the Patels used Paycheck Protection Program money to pay for residential mortgages and other personal expenses instead of covering payroll, business leases and other corporate expenses permitted by the federal government.
Patel strongly denied those allegations in that article and others.
"There is just no evidence of any of this because it did not happen," Patel said.
A piece written in the Albany, NY-based Times Union in October of last year makes reference to a counter-lawsuit that Patel filed against Adirondack Trust, however, we were unable to find any definitive recent information about where either lawsuit stands.
Regardless, it's rather easy to assume that the signs being taken down at Golden Corral in Egg Harbor Township means the buffet isn't reopening.
Officially, the Golden Corral website lists the Egg Harbor Township location as, "operations temporarily suspended."
Prior to the pandemic, it was rather common to see the parking lot surrounding the restaurant packed with bus-loads of people enjoying a meal there.
We messaged the restaurant's owners through Facebook for comment along with Golden Corral's corporate office and will update this story should either group provide additional information.