Updated 3:50 p.m. Nov. 26
Kermit’s Bake Shoppe, the Graduate Hospital pizzeria-slash-bakery that took over an industrial space at the corner of 22nd and Washington in July 2013, has closed for good.
A post on the bakery’s Facebook page Friday morning confirmed the shuttering, calling it a “difficult decision” and thanking customers for their patronage.
The sudden closure took Kermit’s staff completely by surprise — they found out via text message late Thanksgiving night, per a former employee — and now 20 workers are stranded without jobs right at the start of the holiday season.
“The owner, Adam Ritter, never once mentioned the bakery closing,” according to an employee, who asked Billy Penn to remain anonymous because they are considering legal action. “Actually, he spoke of the complete opposite. He spoke about expanding the business onto GrubHub and down other avenues.”
Ritter, also proprietor of Sidecar Bar & Grille and Kraftwork, did not respond to multiple requests for comment. On Saturday afternoon, he posted a new note to Kermit’s Facebook page. “Kermit’s had been operating at a loss since its inception,” he wrote, “and after varied efforts to prop up the business, it became clear that I could not maintain it any longer. And, sadly, there is never a good time to close a business.”
According to the employee, Ritter worked alongside his staff at the bakery on Thanksgiving morning from 8 a.m. to noon.
“When he left he told us he would see us tomorrow and to have a nice Thanksgiving. Then, around 7:30-8 p.m., he sent out a mass text to myself and all of my employees stating that Kermit’s [would] ‘discontinue operation’ but never stated immediately or when.”
This morning, staff who stopped by their former workplace to suss out what happened discovered all locks at the bakery had been changed. They then noticed the Facebook post — and that the restaurant’s status had been changed to “permanently closed.”
“I have been in the restaurant industry for 13 years,” said the former Kermit’s worker, “and have never experienced anything to this magnitude.”
In the Saturday afternoon Facebook note, Ritter disputed this account, saying “many of the details of the stories in the media came from a former employee with a grudge and don’t reflect the facts of the situation.” He indicated that he was working to find positions for former staff: “We have offered work at our other businesses to many of our talented employees and in just a couple of days, we’ve been able to re-employ many members of the Kermit’s staff.”