LAKEVIEW — East Lakeview restaurant Sabor Cubano has shut down after a legal battle over unpaid rent and customer complaints about overcharging, bringing a quick end to the suburban import.
Owner Pedro Suarez opened the restaurant at 3132 N. Broadway last fall after closing his first location in Addison, which had been open for 16 years. He cited the diversity and open-minded palettes of city-dwellers as a reason for making the move.
But as early as a month after they opened, a customer filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau when a meal worth $76.44 showed up as a $776.44 debit card charge. Former Lincoln Park resident Wes Farrell, who said he filed the complaint, said it took more than two months to get the money back.
He called and showed up at the restaurant repeatedly, and employees said the owner or manager would call back, Farrell said. They never did. Ultimately, a female employee told Farrell she would reverse the charge on her own, without the owner, he said.
"It's a crazy situation," said Farrell, who now lives in Wisconsin. "You go out for dinner, and $773 later ... it was not that good of a dinner."
More than a dozen Yelp reviewers complained of similar problems, with some being charged more than $1,000. A user named Andre S., who was overcharged by $1,000, told DNAinfo Chicago in a message that he still hasn't gotten his money back.
Company SCA Realty LLC filed a complaint against the restaurant and Suarez in January for $49,000, with the judge ruling in favor of the landlord with an order of possession — the document needed to evict a tenant.
A note on the window said, as of March 1, the restaurant was under new ownership and management, and would soon reopen as a "Latin fushin [sic]" spot.
Suarez did return an email request for comment. A cell phone number he gave DNAinfo Chicago was not in service, according to an automated message.
The food itself was good, said Wrigleyville resident Natalie Brouwer Potts, who's Cuban and wanted a homecooked meal from the country. But when she went, she said she was charged nearly $400 for a $125 meal for four people.
She probably would have gone back again had it not been for the charge, she said.