The restaurants were opened by Chef Maximilian Korl.
Two Reynolds Road diners opened by well-known chef Maximilian Korl in the late 1990s closed last week after the latest owners were unable to meet payroll for 50 employees Saturday, one of the owners said.
Business at the Max's Diner restaurants dropped 20 to 25 percent after Toledo's smoking ban went into effect, eating away profits, said Jeff Kaminsky, who has owned the restaurants with his wife, Kathy, for five years.
But he conceded that other factors including competition from nearby restaurants also hurt business. Although the smoking ban started a downward spiral for Max's Diner, which had posted 10 to 15 percent gains each of the three previous years, business probably could have been recouped if the other factors weren't present, he said.
"It's not one thing in particular," Mr. Kaminsky said. "Every which way you looked, you kept getting another hit."
The couple tried to improve business conditions, he said. He unsuccessfully tried to contact Toledo Mayor Jack Ford, he said, at least a half-dozen times last year for financial assistance while trying to expand more into catering, for example.
The mayor's office has no record of Mr. Kaminsky attempting to contact him last year, said spokesman Mary Chris Skeldon. But, she said, the city's economic development specialist did meet with Mr. Kaminsky in November, 2003, to discuss assistance options for the catering business - and he ate at the restaurant about 10 times last year and was never asked for help. Mr. Kaminsky never applied for a loan from the city, she said.
The two Max's Diner restaurants did not reopen Saturday after running out of money, Mr. Kaminsky said. How long it will take to pay workers has not been determined, he said.
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