Local Indian food chain Brick Lane Curry House's Upper East Side location closed this week after the state seized it for owing more than $125,500 in both sales and corporation taxes. The restaurant, which has three locations in the city and two in New Jersey, was slapped with the tax warrant on Tuesday, according to the state Department of Tax and Finance. As of Friday, the locations in Midtown and the East Village were still open for business, according to an employee. Brick Lane owner Sati Sharma did not respond to a request for comment.
Brick Lane Curry House owes $125,515 total to the state, mostly for unpaid sales tax. The state typically sends notices and representatives to work with the restaurant on a payment plan before seizing the business with a tax warrant, says Department of Tax and Finance spokesman Geoff Gloak. "It's an action of last resort," he says of the seizure. If Brick Lane still does not start paying off its taxes, the location's assets will eventually be put up for sale in an auction. Eater will update the story with more information as it becomes available, including what this means for other Brick Lane Curry locations.
Update: The Department of Tax and Finance says that Sharma actually owes closer to $350,000 in unpaid taxes when combing all four of his NYC restaurants, including the locations of Brick Lane Curry House and an Italian restaurant in Midtown called Radicchio Pasta and Risotto, which has been closed since at least January.
Additionally, the Midtown location of Brick Lane Curry House, at 253 East 53rd St., has also been seized by the state. The East Village location remains open, and Gloak could not comment on what would happen to that restaurant.
The "vast majority" of owed cash is from unpaid sales tax, Gloak says. Over the course of the last two years, Sharma had been charging customers sales tax and not passing the cash along to the state. The state takes sales tax evasion "very seriously," Gloak says. "They're getting an extra profit and basically keeping taxpayer dollars for their own benefit," he says. Sharma has not returned a request for comment.