After a dramatic takeover caught on cell phone video earlier this week, someone else is now in charge of Bad Bob's BBQ and that someone is a familiar, welcome face to many of the employees.
"Currently, I have control of the day-to-day operations until (December) 20th, at which point a judge will decide what's going to happen further," Mayuri Patel, the former owner of Kemosabee's turned Bad Bob's, said while sitting inside the Colonial Heights restaurant.
Temporary restraining order in hand, Patel took over control of the restaurant from her father-in-law Monday. After more than a half-hour wait and a call to the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office, the man eventually left. The restraining order bans him, Patel's soon-to-be ex-husband and one other family member from returning until a judge decides otherwise. There is a hearing set for the civil case on December 20th.
"I've been away for a little while and I'm back now," Patel said. "I will be fair to the employees. They're happy that I'm here."
The United States Department of Labor previously said the restaurant failed to properly pay 22 employees thousands of dollars in minimum wage back pay. Since we first started asking questions of Patel three months ago, she has paid two employees a combined $6,000 and has promised to do the same for everyone else.
Patel's lived in New Jersey for the last several years and admittedly has been absent from running the barbecue joint. Before we called her back in September, she told us she was unaware of the problems at the restaurant. She previously told us her father-in-law and husband were to blame.
"I'm not sure what's going to happen," Patel said of what the judge will decide later this month.
When asked about being served with civil papers, her father-in-law Arun Patel wouldn't say much.
"I don't want to say anything," Arun Patel said. "It's a family matter."
Kristen Taylor is a waitress at Bad Bob's BBQ. She says she's reluctantly worked there for nearly a year.
"I dreaded coming to work," Taylor said. "I dreaded it. I've applied to every restaurant on Stone Drive and have not had a call back. I've tried to find another job but I can't."
When the former owner walked into the restaurant Monday, Taylor says a sense of relief came over her.
"Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus," Taylor said of her first thought when she saw Mayuri Patel. "I hope that she does take it over, because she has promised us that we will get paid correctly."