Frank's Steaks in Jericho. 

Frank's Steaks in Jericho.  Credit: Newsday/Bill Davis

The owner of Frank's Steaks in Jericho, which was in business for 35 years until the restaurant closed in January, is now being sued for nearly a half-million dollars in unpaid rent. 

The building's landlord, Triangle Properties, filed a complaint Feb. 12 in Nassau County court to recoup $448,368.35, plus attorney fees. The suit alleges that owner Richard Gerzof, who had been renting from Triangle Properties since 2008, was issued a warrant of eviction in December, about a month before the restaurant served its final steak Jan. 19.

Gerzof would not comment publicly about the suit, but said Tuesday that he had not yet received the paperwork or decided on an attorney. But he did confirm the lawsuit would not affect the Rockville Centre location of Frank's Steaks, which has been separately owned by Christopher Meyer and John Casper since 2015, according to the restaurant's website. 

Alan Yaffe, principal at Triangle Properties, said that the problems had been going on for years, even before the pandemic. While he declined to state how much the monthly rent was on the sprawling building at 4 Jericho Tpke., he insisted it was a fair rate, and that they'd given Frank's plenty of concessions and discounts on rent since the start of the pandemic. The plaintiff's attorney, Lane T. Maxson, did not respond to telephone calls seeking comment.

“As the arrears continued to mount, and mount and mount. It came to a point we had to cut bait with them,” Yaffe said. “We thought we worked out an understanding of a financial arrangement of them to pay back what’s been owed, which at that point was hundreds of thousands of dollars. They failed to live up to their obligations."”

Court documents show that Triangle Properties had agreed to extend the building's 17-year lease in August 2018, which would have carried them to July 2028. Yaffe said that they had paid their rent on time in the past, but that the situation devolved after the death of co-owner Nicholas Drossos in 2022, which “had a devastating effect on the operation of the restaurant.” 

The Drossos family had owned the original Jericho location of the restaurant with Richard Gerzof since 1993, according to their website. They opened their second location in Rockville Centre in 2002. The restaurant was known for its approachable ambience and Romanian steak, a skirt steak been marinated in a garlic Worcestershire sauce, which is still served at the Rockville Centre location. 

“None of us are happy about this situation. We’re left with a big mess that we’re cleaning up,” Yaffe said. “I feel bad for all of the hardworking employees that worked at Frank’s for many years. They’re all good people, and this is not a reflection on them."”

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