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Abel Conklin's Bought By Owners of Toast, Bin 56 in Bankruptcy Auction

Following the death of founding owner Dana Riggs, Abel Conklin's Chop House began floundering financially. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and was sold last week.

Huntington steakhouse Abel Conklins has a new owner.

Attorney Jim Margolin of Margolin and Margolin said that the the Reststar Hospitality Group, owner of  Toast, Bistro Cassis and more, received approval from bankruptcy court to purchase the 25-year-old business and all of its assets at a bankruptcy auction March 18 in Central Islip.

"They have not closed on the property yet but the court approved the purchase," Margolin said.

According to Long Island Bankruptcy blog, Conklin's Chop House Inc., and Original Abel's Inc., two separate companies which own the restaurant and its liquor license, filed separately for Chapter 11 bankruptcy relief August 14, 2009 in the Central Islip Bankruptcy Court.

According to a statement provided for the Chapter 11 application by Cassie Mernick, an employee of the restaurant for nearly 25 years, problems arose when beloved founding owner Dana Riggs passed away in 2007.

The restaurant owes back taxes to the federal government, and according to Town of Huntington records, the property taxes are more than $32,000 in arrears.

Meanwhile, in a restaurant where a 15-year tenure on the waitstaff, in the kitchen or behind the bar, is considered average, employees wonder if the restaurant will change its name or decor or, most importantly, the staff.

Bartender Fran Piffath Campo said it's difficult feeling like you're in limbo. "Everyone has been asking us but we don't know that much," she said Friday night while managing a large happy hour crowd of people, many of whom who ended up staying well past the dinner hour.

While eating a Conklin Club, a club sandwich made with prime rib rather than turkey, former employee and current patron Ann Lukralle said that she hopes the new owners know what an asset they have in the existing staff. "The staff here is the best. People come in and expect to see them. Even the guys in the kitchen have been here forever."

Another patron, Anthony Damian, said he agreed with Lukralle's statement. "I always have a nice time here," he said.

Meanwhile, tlast month, will feature Huntington Bay Mayor Herb Morrow, tomorrow, Monday, March 29 and the restaurant is presenting a special Easter menu.

A previous article stated that, according to sources, Tunney & Rieger, owner of Honu Kitchen and Cocktails, purchased the restaurant. That turned out to be untrue. HuntingtonPatch.com regrets the error.

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