I’ve written before about Manhattan’s Saigon Grill on Chowhound. I’ve never quite gotten over their dish called goi banh cuon that I’ve ordered many, many times—a dish I’ve never managed to find elsewhere.
Then I heard two years ago that delivery staff were picketing Saigon Grill due to unfair business practices, and that all of my old friends had mixed feelings about eating there due to the controversy. So when, earlier this year, a federal district court ruled that the restaurant had stolen money from its staff and paid sub-sub minimum wages of around $2 an hour, I was bummed but not too surprised. How had the tiny takeout restaurant managed to expand the way it had in 10 short years, from hole in the wall to three enormous prime real estate locations, while still maintaining relatively low menu prices?
But I had no idea that the owners were going to be arrested by Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo on 400 criminal charges, leading to these mugshots in the New York Times. According to the article:
“Mr. Cuomo’s office said that the Ngets were each charged with 151 counts of falsifying business records in the first degree, 45 counts of tampering with physical evidence, and 46 counts of offering a false instrument for filing. All are class E felonies, which carry a sentence of up to four years in prison.”
Goodbye Saigon Grill! As much as I’ll miss the #82 goi banh cuon, it sounds like I won’t be eating there again for the foreseeable future.