Multiple readers reached out to us this weekend to tell us that a restaurant that opened just over a year ago has suddenly closed.
“Agave at 94/Columbus seemingly disappeared overnight! Bare just about down to the walls,” wrote UwsJeff.
The Mexican and Southwestern restaurant opened at 688 Columbus Avenue (between 93rd and 94th streets) in July 2022, replacing Gabriela’s Restaurant and Tequila Bar, which closed in September 2019 after 15 years.
Upper West Siders were hopeful that Agave would be a good replacement, but recent reviews have been very mixed, with multiple customers calling it out for being an overpriced restaurant with underwhelming food.
One Google reviewer also made a shocking accusation against the now-closed restaurant’s owner.
“I never leave bad reviews, but do NOT give this place your business. The owner, Jim (James), is a con artist, who has owed us thousands of dollars for almost 6 months after signing a legal agreement for marketing. I have never experienced anything like this in my life nor in my career. They are literally taking your hard-earned money and screwing others over so please know that when you dine at this restaurant. I like knowing exactly who I give business to. When you’re a patron at agave, your money is going to a management team that cons people out of what they’re rightfully owed. So saddened by the owner’s blatant lack of human decency.” The person who wrote this is Dakota Kalbacher, or @kota.marketing on Instagram.
Several former staffers also told us they had problems getting paid, stating that their checks would bounce on a regular basis. When we reached out to the owners for comment, they denied any wrongdoing.
In 2017, another former staffer at a now-closed Mexican restaurant from the same owners (The Daisy) filed a lawsuit “to recover unpaid minimum wage and overtime pay.” The plaintiff’s demands were granted in part; the suit can be read in full here.