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Flappy’s Pancake House owners, landlord squabble over messy exit

Restaurant owners say landlord didn't give notice; landlord says he's found a new tenant

DeKALB – The owners of Flappy’s Pancake House in DeKalb said they weren’t given any indication that their landlord, Jim Mason, didn’t want to renew their building lease until the penultimate hour, leaving them little time to make arrangements or find an alternative location.

Mason, who owns the building, said their lease was up and he’s already got a new restaurateur lined up who could inhabit the space in a month.

“He’s scaring us,” said Miley Ahmeti, 41, beginning to cry as she and her husband, Andy Ahmeti, 45, loaded up a U-Haul truck with equipment they said they owned.

The breakfast eatery closed its doors Monday officially, although the Ahmetis said their lease expired
Dec. 9. It was a 10-year lease they had hoped to renew, Andy Ahmeti said. When he went to renew it two weeks before Dec. 9, Andy Ahmeti said he wrote a check for $3,242 to renew the lease and continue operating business as usual. He said Mason didn’t accept it and handed the check back to them. They also said that since Dec. 9, Mason has asked them to pay $400 for each day they’re still in the space, which is double what they paid on their lease.

Flappy’s Pancake House, 1406 Sycamore Road, also is no longer listed on the franchise’s website, which also has locations in Bartlett and Buffalo Grove.

“We are extremely grateful for all the customers that have came here for the past 10 years,” read a note on posted on the restaurant’s front door this week, signed by the Ahmetis.

When asked whether they’ve found a new spot for their business in DeKalb, the Ahmetis said they haven’t yet but would prefer to stay in DeKalb County.

Andy Ahmeti said he doesn’t understand why Mason didn’t tell them he didn’t want to renew their building lease or give them some notice and time to find an alternate location.

“Ten years in business, and why didn’t he tell me in advance?” Andy Ahmeti said, adding he felt disrespected. “For the 10 years I’ve been here, and then kicking me out like that. I don’t mind if he’s got somebody else, but just due notice. And do it respectfully.”

Mason declined to discuss details of the tenant situation Wednesday.

“All that is irrelevant and immaterial,” Mason said. “It’s a private conversation. Their lease is up. The deal is that he was a good tenant for
10 years. Nothing’s forever. The lease is up, and I have other plans.”

The Ahmetis said Mason confronted some of their servers recently when he walked into the restaurant and told them, “Andy doesn’t have a lease here anymore,” but said he’d “take care of” jobs for them, Andy Ahmeti said.

“Everybody heard, servers started quitting, the business slowed. It was really bad because the servers kept telling the customers we shut down. The business collapsed.”

Mason declined to elaborate on the new tenant, he plans to put into the space at 1406 Sycamore Road, but said it’s a restaurateur.

“The restaurant is super,” Mason said. “And hopefully they’ll be open in 30 days.”

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