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A controversial classic, Ruggles Grill closes its doors

A controversial classic, Ruggles Grill closes its doors

Employee protests over unpaid tips rocked Ruggles Grill in December. Photo by KyleJack/Twitpic
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Remember when they used to say that any press was good press? It looks like that's not the case for the embattled Ruggles Grill, which according to a phone recording has closed its doors.

Calls to Ruggles are played a recording that says, in part, "Ruggles Grill has currently closed our historic Montrose location to bring you an exciting new beginning. We thank you for your 27 years of loyalty."

The shuttering caps a dramatic year for Ruggles and owner Bruce Molzan, most notably in December when Ruggles staff staged a walkout during a Saturday night shift, alleging that they were owed hundreds in unpaid tips. Molzan countered that the money problems were due to employee theft.

There were also lawsuits between Molzan and the owners of the former Ruggles 11th Street Café over alleged trademark infrigement and between Molzan and the owners of Ruggles Green for the same issues. In August he settled a suit brought against him by iDine for $500,000.

In September Molzan sold the Ruggles Grill land and buildings, telling CultureMap that he was hoping to move the restaurant into a newer space with a better kitchen. In January Molzan opened Bistro by Ruggles in the former Café Moustache space with executive chef German Mosquera, the original Ruggles Green chef, but according to the Houston Business Journal, Molzan has already pulled out of that venture, which is being renamed Roots Bistro.

Molzan could not immediately be reached for comment on the closing of the lower Westheimer restaurant.

Will you miss Ruggles Grill?