Jessica Biel's Kid-Friendly Restaurant Au Fudge Closes After Two Years: 'It's the End of an Era'
"Thank you for so many years of support," the restaurant wrote on Instagram.
The kid-friendly eatery announced the closing on Instagram and Twitter. They acknowledged that Au Fudge Camp, a children’s center for arts, music and play, which offers classes in art, science, karate, ballet and free play to kids between 6 months and 10 years old, will remain open. Au Fudge will also still be available for private events.
“Thank you for so many years of support,” they wrote on Instagram on Saturday. “Tomorrow is our last day open at the restaurant, but more things to come from Au Fudge.”
Biel also acknowledged the decision to close with a post on Instagram. “While this is the end of an era, it’s also the beginning of a new chapter for @aufudge,” she wrote. “We are so very proud of the happy place we created for families and the community we were a part of.”
In March 2016, Biel and her partners stylist Estee Stanley, Joey Gonzalez, Kimberly Muller, and Jonathan Rollo opened the restaurant, which was complete with a neighboring “creative space” for children that included books, wooden toys and optional au pairs to watch kids while their parents dined on dishes like vegan caesar salad, beef short ribs and cheeseburgers.
When Biel, 36, first opened Au Fudge, she told PEOPLE of her vision for the space. “There’s a lot of anxiety in bringing a kid out,” she said in 2016. “Parents are the hardest-working people. I wanted to create a space where they can come in and feel like they’re taken care of.”
Despite the unique concept in L.A.’s fine dining scene, Biel was open and honest about the struggles of entering the restaurant business, and admitted to Jimmy Kimmel in January 2017 that they were having trouble turning a profit.
“[We’re] definitely not making money,” Biel said. “Nobody’s making money in the restaurant business, in my experience, at least not yet.”
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In September 2017, Biel and her restaurant partners found themselves in legal trouble after being accused of stealing over $430,000 in tips from their employees and allegedly denying them meal and rest breaks.
According to court documents obtained PEOPLE, nine mostly former employees sued for $1 million in punitive damages after the owners allegedly “wrongfully converted” the 22% gratuity charged at private events and buyouts, where clients pay to rent the entire restaurant.
“Each of them had their gratuities wrongfully converted and were improperly denied meal and rest breaks, overtime compensation and earned wages under various illegal payroll practices,” the plaintiffs alleged. “Defendants charged hundreds of thousands of dollars in gratuities to private-party customers and converted said gratuities to themselves in order to pad their own pockets and deprive plaintiffs their just compensation in violation of law.”