Jake's BBQ Shack Closes, Owner Files Bankruptcy

The Dexter restaurant closed its doors abruptly on July 26 citing lack of sales in the community.

, located at 8050 Main St. in downtown Dexter, has closed its doors indefinitely.

According to Village Manager Donna Dettling, the restaurant closed on July 26 and owner Bart Aniolczyk has since filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

"He didn't notify the village properly that he was closing, so we found out the hard way," Dettling said.

She said the village contacted Aniolczyk in August after a sign was placed on the restaurant door indicating it had closed.

"He basically indicated to us that he wasn't making any money and that he wasn't coming back," Dettling said.

Attempts to contact Aniolczyk were unsuccessful, however, a message on the restaurant's Facebook page reads: "Well that's all folks. We tried to hang on till at least Dexter Daze, but I think the whole town went out on vacation this month.

"I have no doubt the barbecue was one of a kind and the town needed something like this, but we are working on some distribution options, so you may see Jake's BBQ yet again some day. Thanks so much for all your support!"

Aniolczyk ' in September 2011 and transformed it into a Polish-style restaurant specializing in takeout lunch and dinner specials. The restaurant closed, however, in March to remodel and revamp the menu.

Dettling said there are currently no plans to lease the building β€” which the village owns β€” to another tenant.

"Right now we can't do anything until the end of September because of the bankruptcy filing," she said. "The Dexter Village Council is looking at turning the facility into public restrooms because its not working out, for whatever reason, as a leasing arrangement."

Dettling said there is no timetable for the potential project, however she plans to bring a preliminary discussion before the council at its Sept. 10 meeting.

"The biggest issue will be the cost if the council decides to pull the trigger on public restrooms. A construction project on that building is not currently budgeted for," she said.

Barbara Fike August 24, 2012 at 02:01 PM
The only thing that has EVER worked at this location over the past 30 years is when it was the Sheriff's Office. It is too small and off the beaten track for anything else, except maybe restrooms.
Gini Davis August 24, 2012 at 02:54 PM
We enjoyed the Polish food and really wanted to support Jakes. Switching to barbecue kind of lost our interest, but we still wished him the best.
Amber Sears August 24, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Nice to know that the village blabs their tenant's private business to the press! My gosh, what was wrong with just saying he closed, for the reasons he gave?? Here's a clue as to "whatever reason" it might not be working out...the village employees do nothing to support the downtown businesses that help pay their salaries (and their retirements). So you don't need to look too far to see part of the problem. Pretty sad statement if a historical building downtown has to be turned into an outhouse. I moved my business to Brighton and its like night and day compared to downtown Dexter. Bart, come up here, we would love to have you!!!
Kelly Loe August 24, 2012 at 04:55 PM
How sad that they had to close.And I agree with Amber, one's financial problems don't need to be made public. Let's be good neighbors- keep some things private. As for the suggested idea of a public restroom that is a GREAT idea! Put restrooms on one side and add screened windows on the side facing the park so that non-profits could sign up and sell drinks (hot chocolate in the winter!), fruit, candy, etc for fundraising. Maybe a covered section for tourists to stop and grab brochures on what to do in the area.
Rob D'Oria August 24, 2012 at 05:04 PM
There nothing wrong with that location...nobody knew the business was there because the owner made little to no investment/effort in promoting it (...at least from what I can tell)...just threw up a sign and opened the doors. Did he do any targetted web (i.e. ShopDexter) or direct mail advertising? Did he join the Chamber of Commerce? Did he do anything else in the community to create awareness...if he did, we missed it? From what we heard the food was great and probably would have become regulars, but like most folks didn't know it was there. That's not he building's/location's fault or the Village's fault...that's 100% on the owner.
Rob D'Oria August 24, 2012 at 05:34 PM
I don't think I'd buy hot chocolate (...or any food or drink item) from the screened window of the potty shack. :)
Elaine Owsley August 24, 2012 at 07:18 PM
If he closed on July 26, he wasn't even open for Dexter Days, so how does he know what business or not might have come his way. Didn't he just have something written in detail about the place? Something about new cookers? This is really strange, but I agree, the man had no idea how to market his business in either format.
Amber Sears August 24, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Soooo what exactly should he have done that would have met with your approval? It's great how people love to kick small business owners when they are down. Yes, you did miss what he did. He brought wonderful samples of his cooking to other businesses downtown which sold me on it for sure. More than the Chamber of Commerce ever would.
Rob D'Oria August 24, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Well, minimally, he could have worked with the Village and the owner of Hazel's, whose equipment he purchased (http://dexter.patch.com/articles/jakes-place-serves-up-hot-homemade-meals-in-dexter) to ensure a smooth transition of the building (...and equipment I'm guessing, unless he bought it outright) back to the Village or another tenant instead of bolting, filing for bankruptcy, and leaving the Village in a bind until the courts sort it all out. Maybe that's responsible behavior in your mind, but to me it's highly irresponsible and selfish...and deserving of some unfavorable commentary.
Elaine Owsley August 24, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Personally, I liked his Polish food and picked up dishes there from time to time. I'm just puzzled what it would have taken to make a go of it and why he left so soon after the change of menu. I like ribs, too. I hardly think that qualifies as "kicking a small business owner."
Don Darnell August 24, 2012 at 08:59 PM
I don’t think its fair to criticize the Village for complaining about how Aniolczyk left. The Village is after all the building owner, and proper notice to the landlord would have been appropriate and courteous. Mr. Aniolczyk should quit his crying about how the residents of Dexter did not support him. I am a bankruptcy attorney located within a block or two of his (former) business and he hired a bankruptcy lawyer in Dearborn Heights. About the building - it seems that food ventures don’t seem to work there. I hope the Village can find a public use better than a restroom. I think the most cursory cost-benefit analysis would rule that out pretty quickly.
Amber Sears August 24, 2012 at 10:05 PM
I am not criticizing their complaint about his leaving; I am criticizing their announcement that the owner filed for bankruptcy. That is information that just feeds a rumor mill that doesn't need to be fed. Of course I think he should have given proper notice about what was going on with his business, and maybe they could have worked out a rent abatement while he got the new concept up and running, as unless they are charging per flush in the prospective toiletorium, they are not going to make any money off this property in the future. I would expect a local government to have a policy of not commenting on pending litigation, as I frequently read is the standard practice in larger cities. It's sufficient to know that the business ceased operations and the village is pursuing exciting new uses for the building that will encourage visitors. I don't think it reflects very well on Dexter to attract new business by having a top official spread news of something very unfortunate and upsetting to the owner. "Come to Dexter...you'll be bankrupt in a month and we'll turn your place into an outhouse."
Rob D'Oria August 24, 2012 at 10:24 PM
You obviously have an axe to grind with the Village since you're making this about the wrong you feel they committed and not about what Jake/Bart did. Bankruptcy filings and records are public, so nothing private was divulged...and I'm not sure what pending litigation you're talking about...none was mentioned in the article. Get your facts straight before you start going off on the Village and it's employees.
Amber Sears August 24, 2012 at 11:05 PM
My axe is about dirty laundry being aired that goes above and beyond what the public needs to know. Bankruptcy filings certainly are public, but you don't see them as the headline for every person who files them. This was not part of the information that Bart chose to share with the public via his closure announcement, and his issues with the village in a landlord and tenant relationship should be private while the bankruptcy proceedings are pending. People take something negative like this and presume to know all about his business, what he did wrong, what he should have done. Surely you can appreciate the feelings of negativity from the public presuming to know all about your business, even people going so far as to post letters here on Patch with a pizza with a red slash through it, as it appears you've been fighting quite a bit with the presumptions and conclusions people are drawing over your new pizza place.
Rob D'Oria August 24, 2012 at 11:35 PM
I certainly don't pretend to know everything about Bart's business and don't need to. I know he leased the building from the Village and just walked away from it without any notice to or concern for the Village. Frankly that's all I need to know. You might also note that the article doesn't quote Donna as saying he filed for bankruptcy. She is quoted as saying "Right now we can't do anything until the end of September because of the bankruptcy filing", which is an honest answer to a question like "what are plans for the building?". You make it sound like the Village called up the Patch and started airing dirty laundry. As far as the pizza place goes, I guess I don't see the correlation, but thanks for giving me a opening to plug it. ;) Folks see another pizza place and understandably some react negatively. That was not unexpected on our part and our response to that has been to educate them in more detail on what we're doing different and how it's not going to be just another pizza place. There are few folks that have been particularly negative, but they are in the super-minority. We have found that the community as a whole (including the Village and its employers) have been very supporting of what we're doing.
MGOBLUE August 25, 2012 at 12:20 AM
Hey Rob, speaking of not being good at self promotion, you forgot to mention the name of YOUR business. I'd like to know so I can avoid going to the restaurant of someone as patronizing and critical as you seem to be. Dexter's a very friendly and supportive place. Amber is just being nice about someone's misfortune. Lighten up, dude. Think before you type.
Rob D'Oria August 25, 2012 at 12:25 AM
It's Bits & Pizzas, 8099 Main St. Just sticking up for the Village that has been very welcoming, helpful, and supportive of my family and business. I'm sure we'll do fine without your patronage.
MGOBLUE August 25, 2012 at 12:25 AM
That's a really good idea, Kelly. My home has both a bathroom and a kitchen (pretty sure most of ours do!), and we seem to be able to keep the two separated well enough. I think most restaurants have a restroom located somewhere inside as well. Rob is just being deliberately obtuse.
Rob D'Oria August 25, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Actually I was making a joke...maybe you should follow your own advice and "Lighten up, dude".
MGOBLUE August 25, 2012 at 12:31 AM
Thanks. I'm not trying to hurt your business. I just don't want to go there.
MGOBLUE August 25, 2012 at 12:39 AM
P.S. A really nice feature of The Patch is you can delete your own comments if you change your mind about them.
Rob D'Oria August 25, 2012 at 12:51 AM
I'm good, but thanks for the tip. Returning the favor, a tip for you: you can use your real name instead of hiding behind a psudonymn or maybe an acronym in this case. I know it's easier to say whatever you want when you don't, but it shows a greater respect for those that you challenge/criticize when you do. As much as I disagree with Amber's comments, I highly respect the fact that she takes ownership of them.
Gina August 25, 2012 at 02:07 AM
The village and previous owner have actually been trying to contact him for months and he's avoided everyone. He did not buy the equipment outright either so who knows what happening to all the stuff in that building until the END OF SEPTEMBER. Donna is a very professional village employee. He didn't do things the right way.
LoveDexter August 25, 2012 at 03:24 AM
Thank you Gina for making that last statement. Donna Dettling is highly professional and slamming her is a sign that a person doesn't know her very well. I know Donna both professionally and personally and she's not the type to "air people's laundry" thoughtlessly around town. She works hard for the village. Sorry you had a bad experience Amber but I highly doubt it was Donna's fault! Best of luck in Brighton!
Marilyn Wilkie August 26, 2012 at 12:32 AM
Geez! Sour grapes anyone?
Marilyn Wilkie August 26, 2012 at 12:33 AM
Good Idea Kelly!
Tom Lamb August 26, 2012 at 02:20 AM
Not to beat a dead horse, but I went to Jake's Place 3 times within 1.5 months and each time I tried to order, Bart informed me he was out of food. I wanted to support the place but it's tough when this type of thing continually happens. Not surprised they went out of business based on my experience and similar stories I heard from others.
John Parker August 29, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Most revealing comment in the lot. Good luck to Bart. Hope his wish to get back in business at some future date works out for him.


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