By: Richard Meyer ~Copy Editor~
A popular Hyde Park sushi restaurant, Dancing Wasabi, closed its doors last week following a civil lawsuit involving employee wages.
The restaurant, located at 3530 Edwards Rd. in Hyde Park, now has signs advertising the space as available for purchase. The restaurant was popular amongst Xavier students.
Dancing Wasabi’s closing is due in part to its owner, Charlie Choi, being ordered to pay more than $35,000 in unpaid wages to his employees at the restaurant.
According to local news channel WCPO, employees filed the lawsuit last year, demanding compensation for both overtime and minimum wages.
The employees claimed that Choi had paid workers less than minimum wage beginning in 2012.
The lawsuit was filed on Dec. 12, 2013, and it stated that Dancing Wasabi “repeatedly and willfully” violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by paying its employees less than minimum wage.
It also claimed that workers were not properly compensated for working more than 40 hours in a week.
According to WCPO, Choi also failed to “make, keep and preserve adequate and accurate records of employees and their wages.”
Choi did not enter a defense in the lawsuit and on July 8, 2014, the court ruled that Choi will pay $35,062.02 to the plaintiffs.
Choi began the “half-priced sushi” event at Dancing Wasabi and it became a popular restaurant in Hyde Park. Along with its late-night hours, the restaurant was well-liked by sushi-lovers.
Choi recently took over a restaurant called Mr. Sushi located in downtown Cincinnati at 580 Walnut St.
Mr. Sushi will feature many of the same deals offered at Dancing Wasabi, including the late hours and half-priced sushi.
“(Choi is) moving on from the Dancing Wasabi concept, he wants to be a part of the action downtown,” Mr. Sushi General Manager Dan Driscoll said.
Mr. Sushi will be open until 2 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday and until 4 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. It will also be open for lunch during the week.