Though the sign says it's closed for redecorating, Onizim's Restaurant along East Main Street has ceased operations.
The Lexington restaurant was the successor in name to Furlongs. Onizim's owner Charles Verrette reopened the restaurant as Furlongs in 2007 along with Furlongs founder Tommy Walters. The restaurant had left its longtime location at East Main and Ashland Avenue in the mid-2000s and moved to South Broadway, where it later closed.
Walters said in an interview Tuesday that the partnership between the two ended, and a lawsuit between the pair was settled last year in Fayette Circuit Court. The name was changed to Onizim's afterward, Walters said. It was in honor of Verrette's grandfather, Onizim Vidrine, according to previous interviews.
Reached earlier this week, Verrette declined to discuss the closing in detail.
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"There will be another restaurant opening there, but it won't be Onizim's," he said, adding that it might open in the next six weeks to two months. The new operator he named could not be reached for comment this week. "I'm out," Verrette said. "No comment."
Reached again Tuesday, Verrette said he closed the restaurant because of health issues.
"My doctor was saying it was causing me stress and causing me problems, so I got out of the business," he said.
He added that he had planned to leave the restaurant to his daughter, who was running it with him, but she chose to pursue a different career.
The closing comes after a number of legal filings involving Verrette this year, all of which he said are unrelated to Onizim's and its shuttering.
In May, he filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection for individuals. He listed assets of $100,001 to $500,000 and liabilities of $500,001 to $1 million.
On June 6, Verrette's bankruptcy attorney filed a notice "to disclose that the debtor's debts are primarily business debts."
Verrette said Wednesday that the business issues related to a Furlongs restaurant in Louisville, adding that a partner foreclosed on his loan. Furlongs in Louisville closed last year.
"It has nothing to do with this," he said of Onizim's closing.
In the bankruptcy filing, Verrette also noted a lawsuit by McNally Family Ventures LLC against him and CBV Holdings, of which he was a controlling member or manager.
Attorney Catherine Stevens, who filed the suit on behalf of McNally Family Ventures, said it involved property in Louisville that was unrelated to Onizim's. The case brought by McNally Family Ventures is pending, but a settlement has been proposed for court approval.