George Calombaris has announced the closure of his Hellenic Republic restaurant in Melbourne after he was forced to pay back $7.8 million to his staff.
The former Masterchef judge will shut the doors to his popular restaurant just months after he gave a tearful interview regarding the news that he owed his staff money, pleading with the public not to abandon his Greek restaurants. The well-known chef was found to have underpaid over 500 workers.
The 41 -year-old is said to be worth an estimated $5 million and was forced to backpay $7.8 million to those employees.
The restaurateur said the decision to close the Hellenic Republic was “bittersweet” as Calombaris took to his Instagram account announcing his decision. “On December 31, 2019, we are farewelling Hellenic Republic Brunswick and transforming our beloved space into ‘Crofter’ with our new partner,” George said.
He went on to explain that Matt Wilkinson his peer and friend of 20 years will focus on the new eatery featuring a modern vegetable-first menu without huge portions of meat. Calombaris stressed that the newly transformed restaurant will be in good hands.
Earlier this month Calombaris’ Hellenic Republic restaurant in Williamstown became Hotel Argentina.
According to reports, the once go-to Greek restaurant in Melbourne took a massive hit when former employees revealed they were owed thousands of dollars for unpaid overtime wages and since the exposure, the once booked out restaurant saw a large decline in customers.