SALISBURY — Long-standing financial troubles appear to have brought an end to Hobo’s Cafe and Lounge at Salisbury Beach.
Last week, a seized sign was posted by the Essex County Sheriff’s Office on the front door of the 5 Broadway restaurant that’s been a staple of the beach center for about 12 years.
And there are reports that owners Bob and Howie Fournier have left town.
Hobo’s was a year-round eatery and watering hole known for providing good food and a fun atmosphere, as well as lending a helping hand to many local nonprofit organizations in need of a venue for a fundraising event. In 2011, the owners were recognized by the Salisbury Chamber of Commerce, receiving the group’s Business Award for their decade’s worth of energy, time and contributions to the community.
But for months, stories have been circulating that its owners were experiencing financial difficulties.
The situation came to a head last week when the Fourniers’ landlord, Ron Paredna, said he had no option but to act.
Paredna, who owns Cristy’s Pizza along the same block, filed a civil lien on the Hobo’s property, resulting in the court-ordered seizure of the site through the Enforcement Unit of the Essex County Sheriff’s Office.
“They’ve owed me months and months of rent. This goes back before this summer,” Paredna said yesterday. “I nursed them along for a long time because I wanted to give them a chance and I didn’t want an empty storefront along that part of Broadway to be a blight on the beach center.”
Paredna said the civil lien on the property is in addition to personal judgments he has against the two restaurateurs. And, he added, he isn’t the only one who’s been hurt.