A POPULAR city centre restaurant has shut down for good – two weeks after its ceiling caved in.
Illegal Jacks, in Lothian Road, was forced to close earlier this month after plaster came raining down on to the food counter as startled diners looked on.
But now owner Jack Muir has revealed that his award-winning Tex-Mex eatery will not reopen, with 14 jobs being lost.
He said he first reported water streaming into his premises last month, and warned letting agents for the flat above that the ceiling could collapse if the leak was not plugged.
Mr Muir gathered his staff for a meeting last night, which was attended by liquidators.
He predicted that £25,000 worth of sales had been lost during the closure. He expected the eaterie to do a roaring trade with thousands of fans streaming to Lothian Road for Billy Connolly’s sell-out shows at the Usher Hall.
Mr Muir said: “Liquidating the business means that the staff all get fully looked after, and that they get every last penny they are due.
“My first priority is making sure they are looked after.
“It’s the cashflow we can’t cope with, as a wee business.
“The restaurant is four years and 11 months old.
“We survived in the depths of a really bad recession and have won awards for our cooking and for our brand, and now this.
“Shutting for the leak cost us around £25,000 worth of sales.
“It’s insane. Why are we unemployed? What did we do wrong? Nothing.
“Saying that to my workforce, that they had lost their jobs, that was the worst day of my life.”
Mr Muir has accused letting agents Lets4U – which manage the flat above – of not dealing with the leak and the city council of not intervening.
Earlier this month, a spokeswoman for letting agents Lets4U said they were aware of the leak and were working with the council and the restaurant to resolve the problem.
After the news was revealed on social media last night, regular customers took to social network sites to express their disappointment.
@MarrsioFootball said: “Sorry to hear this. Sad news. Hope things work out as well as possible for all the staff.”
Edinburgh crime writer Ian Rankin said Illegal Jacks – which has been in Lothian Road since November 2009 – would be a loss to the city’s dining menu, tweeting that he was “gutted”.