Restaurateur Felix opens up about legal, personal difficulties

The owners of a popular Ocala eatery have put some of their recent woes behind them. Now all they need to get back in business are the customers who have stayed away, confused as to whether the restaurant was open or closed.

The problems for Felix’s Fine Foods and Catering stem from Executive Chef Loring Felix’s struggle with alcohol in the midst of the economic downtown, Felix and his wife, Marge Felix, said Friday during wide-ranging and candid interviews.

“We can’t sit here with an empty restaurant,” Marge Felix said. “Valentine’s is a week away and we’re sitting here without reservations. Our employees have volunteered to hand out fliers that say, ‘Yes, we’re open.'”

Business fell off last month following news reports that Felix’s, located on East Silver Springs Boulevard, had been in violation of a stop-work order issued by the state in December for failing to provide workers’ compensation coverage for the restaurant’s 20 employees.

That order was released Feb. 1 when Marge Felix paid a $13,713 fine to the Florida Division of Workers Compensation – an initial assessment of $5,713 plus $1,000 for every day Felix’s remained open without paying the penalty.

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